Transport Canada selects Iris Automation for national detect and avoid trials

Transport Canada has selected Iris Automation’s Casia collision avoidance system for commercial drones as part of Canada’s onboard Detect and Avoid (DAA) technology demonstration programme.

The Detect and Avoid trials, conducted by the National Research Council Canada (NRC) on behalf of Transport Canada, will evaluate the use of various types of DAA technologies to inform future Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) regulations and standards.

Casia systems use computer vision and machine learning technology to detect unanticipated aircraft encounters and take corrective action to avoid a potential mid-air collision. For the trials, the Casia system will be integrated on a helicopter serving as a surrogate RPAS and flight tested against various “intruder” trajectories flown by other NRC aircraft. These real-world encounter scenarios simulate the kinds of encounters that commercial drones face while operating beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), such as when conducting remote medical supply delivery, search/rescue, and precision agriculture monitoring.

Iris Automation also participates in the US Federal Aviation Administration’s ASSURE programme and BEYOND programme to advance complex BVLOS UAS operations in the US National Airspace System. As part of the BEYOND Program, Iris has so far partnered with four lead participants – the City of Reno, Kansas Department of Transportation, the University of Alaska Fairbanks (ACUASI) and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Iris had previously partnered with each of these lead participants in the FAA’s UAS Integration Pilot Program (IPP) which concluded in October 2020.

Iris Automation launched the Canada Pathfinder programme in February 2021 – an all-in-one solution to streamline the complex steps required to achieve BVLOS approvals and experience. Iris Automation partnered with two of Canada’s leading RPAS (remotely piloted aircraft system) test facilities for support, training and proving BVLOS flight competency – Foremost UAS Test Range in Alberta and UAS Center of Excellence (CED) in Alma, Quebec. The programme includes flight training, assistance gaining BVLOS approvals, a BVLOS safety system, engineering and regulatory support, and test center access. The Program is open to any organizations interested in operating BVLOS services inside Canada.

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