Autonomous inspection and monitoring service provider Percepto has received a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS) beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) in shielded airspace, without humans onsite, and without expensive and cumbersome ground-based or airborne detect and avoid (DAA) systems, for inspection and monitoring operations at critical and non-critical infrastructure sites nationwide.
Under the waiver, low risk “shielded” BVLOS operations are authorized 200 feet above and around assets located on critical infrastructure sites. At non-critical infrastructure sites, shielded BVLOS operations are permitted 50 feet higher than the tallest obstruction located within a half-mile of the site, says the press release.
This achievement for Percepto will benefit the whole industry as the industry seeks to scale true BVLOS UAS operations for inspection and monitoring, and is a step in fully integrating UAS into the National Airspace System (NAS).
Percepto proactively engaged with the FAA throughout the waiver application process and demonstrated to the FAA that the company can operate BVLOS close to structures safely without costly ground based or airborne DAA systems.
The operations authorized under this approval build upon recommendations made by the UAS BVLOS Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) chartered by the FAA. The ARC correctly recognized that shielded airspace near structures and other obstacles where crewed aircraft do not typically operate could be leveraged as a safety mitigation to support safe, scalable, and economically viable UAS BVLOS operations. Percepto served as a member on the BVLOS ARC.
“This waiver’s implications for BVLOS UAS operations in the United States are massive,” said Lisa Ellman, Chair of the Global UAS Practice at Hogan Lovells and Outside Counsel to Percepto. “The FAA waiver provides scalability to businesses and encourages innovation across the industry, which will yield significant benefits for critical infrastructure facilities and the American people.”
“The ability to conduct remote BVLOS inspections without humans supervising the system and without the need for costly DAA assets will increase the value of the Percepto system while significantly reduce costs and barriers to BVLOS operations at our critical infrastructure and industrial commercial sites nationwide,” said Tim Shanfelt, PMP, Operations Enablement Director, Koch Ag and Energy Solutions.
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