North Dakota has announced the launch of a nationwide beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) network called Vantis, overseen by the Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Test Site (NPUASTS). NPUASTS brings together government resources, industry leaders and public stakeholders to pioneer BVLOS activity.
Three leading aviation infrastructure companies have been selected to provide systems engineering and integration services to build, implement, and operate Vantis. Collins Aerospace, a Raytheon Technologies Company, L3Harris Technologies; and Thales USA have been contracted to work with the Northern Plains UAS Test Site to enable real-world, scalable, commercial and public UAS BVLOS operations in North Dakota.
L3Harris Technologies and Thales USA have been selected to build out key site infrastructure, enabling BVLOS flights in McKenzie and Williams counties – with additional locations rolling out after the key site has been validated.
NPUASTS also drives approvals from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to bring the system together.
Created by North Dakota with an initial investment of USD28 million 2019, Vantis provides turnkey support to commercial and public UAS operators through infrastructure and regulatory approvals allowing applications and usability over a variety of industries. Beginning with key site implementation in the state’s western region – the heart of North Dakota’s oil and gas industry – Vantis will offer a complete solution for commercial and public UAS operators, providing the infrastructure and resources to make large-scale UAS operations successful. As it grows, it will encompass airspace covering the entire state linking urban areas with agricultural and energy-focused regions.
Four key components give the network its advantage:
- Remote infrastructure of surveillance sensors and command and control radios
- Backhaul data network that is scalable and highly reliable
- Mission and network operations center, with monitoring and system testing
- UAS encompassing aircraft and ground control stations
Vantis is expected to facilitate better services to North Dakota residents and help spur economic development. Immediate applications are envisioned for varied sectors including oil and gas, electric utilities, rail and roads, agriculture, medical services and retail deliveries. As it grows, Vantis is expected to be a launchpad to increase efficiencies, enhance safety and bring new capabilities to people, businesses and governments. Rollouts and enhancements to the network will be happening throughout the state, catering to customer needs.
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