A major American drone platform provider is ready to boldly go where few drones have gone before.
North Carolina-based PrecisionHawk announced May 1 as the date for a research release that will mark a new era in Beyond the Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS).
“Flying drones over long distances — an imperative for inspecting miles of oil & gas pipeline in remote areas or hundreds of acres of crops — has been all but impossible to-date; but that’s about to change and, as a result, a multi-billion-dollar, horizontal business opportunity will emerge,” a company statement reads.
Research gathered and analyzed by PrecisionHawk and published in-partnership with the FAA, via the Pathfinder Program will cap a three-year journey effort to better understand the burgeoning space of BVLOS.
A company spokesperson notes:
“By making this information available – free of cost – to all commercial drone users, PrecisionHawk will go far beyond its initial objective of informing the FAA. The company will equip commercial drone users everywhere with the information needed to clear the final hurdle that has kept nearly all organizations from fully realizing and capitalizing on the benefits of BVLOS drone operations.”
The FAA’s Pathfinder Initiative is designed, the agency says, to address specific areas of national drone integration. Currently, no drone pilot can fly BVLOS over domestic airspace without obtaining a special, and “nearly impossible-to-secure” waiver from the FAA, the company notes.
In addition to PrecisionHawk, CNN will be researching how visual line-of-sight operations might be used for newsgathering in urban areas. BNSF Railroad will explore the challenges of using drone to inspect their rail infrastructure beyond visual line-of-sight in isolated areas.
“As a Pathfinder company, we have developed a strong corporate culture of safety and a commitment to helping government and businesses derive value from advanced drone operations,” Michael Chasen, PrecisionHawk CEO, said in a recent interview.
“Our research is the foundation of the BVLOS and Expanded Drone Operations Consulting Program. Allison has worked closely with the FAA and industry leaders to develop standards that have the potential to revolutionize the drone industry, and it would be remiss not to thank her for her dedication to this project.”