American Robotics to start pilot drone programme with Masschusetts transportation department

Ondas Holdings, a provider of private industrial wireless networks and commercial drone and automated data solutions, announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary American Robotics and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Aeronautics Division (MassDOT Aeronautics) are ready to begin a multi-month pilot program and are planning demonstrations at additional locations in Massachusetts as a part of the 6-month proof-of-concept (POC) agreement signed between the parties earlier this year. The purpose of the agreement is to improve data collection for enhanced safety and cost reduction by MassDOT Aeronautics in key areas such as rail inspections, wetlands assessments, and incident response. During the demonstrations and pilot program American Robotics will showcase the capabilities of the Optimus System manufactured by Ondas’ Airobotics. The FAA-certified Optimus drone will operate under realistic conditions in a fully remote and autonomous mode, based on a designated beyond-visual-line-of-sight waiver received from the FAA.

According to the press release, the Optimus drone recently received a Type Certification from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and is the world’s first small UAS (sUAS) developed for aerial security and data capture to receive this certification. In addition, American Robotics has secured a beyond visual line of sight (“BVLOS”) waiver allowing for autonomous operations at a location in Massachusetts through October 2027.

MassDOT Aeronautics is undertaking this effort as part of its Commonwealth UAS (uncrewed aircraft systems) Integration Program, which is focused on identifying and demonstrating the operational utility of new, innovative aviation technologies that support MassDOT’s mission to provide safe, reliable, robust, and resilient transportation infrastructure across Massachusetts. By exploring the effectiveness of the Optimus “drone-in-a-box” (DiaB) System in real-world scenarios, American Robotics aims to showcase the drone platform’s optimal use cases for U.S.-based governmental entities. As the first state agreement in the United States to take advantage of autonomous drone technology provided by the Optimus System, the MassDOT partnership represents an important step in introducing to the U.S. the successful urban drone infrastructure that Ondas is deploying commercially in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

During the demonstration, the American Robotics team will provide an in-depth presentation on the system’s features, highlighting its autonomous flight capabilities, real-time data analysis, and the versatility of its payload options. Furthermore, the team will demonstrate the seamless integration of the Optimus System into existing workflows, emphasizing its potential applications across various domains, including infrastructure inspections, emergency response, and environmental monitoring. The pilot program effort will then demonstrate the regular and routine use of the Optimus System in a representative operational environment, and for data customers across several Massachusetts state agencies. This pilot will help MassDOT Aeronautics identify the operational value of the system and will provide insight into how data from a drone-in-a-box system can be integrated into existing state inspection and asset management workflows.

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