Electronics and Semiconductors

Iris Automation, Swoop Aero partner for BVLOS drone solutions

02 September 2021
The Casia detect-and-avoid technology that is part of Iris Automation’s safety suite. Source: Iris Automation

Iris Automation and drone logistics vendor Swoop Aero are partnering to develop beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone solutions.

Swoop Aero provides drone logistics services for transportation in areas where ground or traditional air access is inaccessible, too slow or not economical.

The partnership with Iris will support a broad range of missions by enabling the company to obtain complex operational approvals and certifications. Swoop Aero recently formed delivery operations with EBOS Healthcare in Australia and joined New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment airspace integration trial program.

BVLOS allows drone operators to conduct complex drone operations where the device flies beyond a point where the operator can see it. This could be through a camera attached to the drone or for autonomous flight operations without a pilot. While some companies are currently testing BVLOS using 4G wireless networks, the advent of 5G, the next-generation wireless technology, may accelerate the development of BVLOS as the technology would allow for intelligent identification and tracking of objects through cloud computing. One such project has already started with Ericsson and Australian telecom Optus with the first teleoperated drone flight.

Swoop recently introduced Kite, a drone designed for urban flight and high-impact rural and remote operations. The company claims Kite is one of the most advanced aircraft to progress through the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) certification program in the U.S. Kite includes hardware, software and supporting infrastructure as well as Casia, Iris Automation’s detect-and-avoid technology as part of its safety suite.

Iris Automation has been heavily active in developing BVLOS technology for unmanned aerial systems (UAS) including being selected by the FAA for its Aviation Rulemaking Committee that will work to normalize rules for deliveries. It is also taking part in the Canada Pathfinder Program, which will work to accelerate BVLOS approvals and regulatory approvals.

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com

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