FAA-approved BVLOS flight inspects Kansas power lines without observers

Kansas Department of Transport hosted a successful beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flight approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in early November under the state’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program, involving Kansas State Polytechnic, utility company Evergy and Iris Automation. Using a fixed-wing drone, the team was able to fly BVLOS to inspect power lines for the utility without a manned observer or ground-based radar. The drone was fitted with Iris Automation’s Casia onboard collision-avoidance system and completed 152 miles of power line inspection services. The partners announced plans to continue the operations into 2020. Kansas is also looking to use drones for public safety including disaster-relief support during extreme weather events. A total of 45 tornadoes touched down in Kansas during 2018.

(Image: Iris Automation)

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