AUVSI applauds FAA for approving commercial drones operations beyond visual line of sight

The Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) today commended the Federal Aviation Administration’s grant of exemptions to uAvionix and UPS Flight Forward to conduct commercial drone operations beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), following earlier authorisation for Pheonix Air Unmanned and SwissDrones. The agency is reviewing one additional request with Zipline. Data collected from these operations will inform the FAA’s ongoing policy and rulemaking activities.

Chief Advocacy Officer Michael Robbins made the following statement:

“These approvals mark an important step in the development of commercial drone delivery operations at scale in the national airspace system – one that, over time, will expand to benefit many communities nationwide. The exemptions will increase access to rural areas, improve the quick transport of goods, and support the use of drones for critical infrastructure inspections.

AUVSI applauds the FAA for its timely finalisation of templates that will streamline certain commercial drone operations, which will further the agency’s progress toward its vision of a future where all users of the airspace can operate together under the highest safety standards.

As the agency moves toward a final BVLOS rulemaking, AUVSI urges the FAA to consider the holistic safety picture and success these companies will demonstrate. AUVSI remains committed to working with the FAA and Congress to support U.S. advanced aviation leadership and realize the immense benefits this industry stands ready to provide.”

In June, AUVSI submitted comments to the Federal Register in support for BVLOS exemptions for Pheonix Air Unmanned, uAvionix, UPS Flight Forward, and Zipline, as well as comments in response to the FAA’s UAS BVLOS Request for Comment. AUVSI President and CEO Brian Wynne served on the FAA’s BVLOS Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), which submitted its report to the FAA in March 2022.

On 6 September 2023, The FAA authorised UPS Flight Forward with its Matternet M2 to conduct small package delivery, and uAvionix with its Rapace using the Vantis Network to test its detect and avoid technology.

On 24 August, the FAA authorised Phoenix Air Unmanned to operate SwissDrones SVO 50 V2 drones BVLOS for aerial work, aerial photography, survey and powerline and pipeline patrol and inspection.

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