The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved the first drone flight beyond-the-line-of-sight, taking a huge leap towards the further integration of drones into everyday life.
Last Friday, the FAA tested a drone flight with the University of Alaska Fairbanks over an oil pipeline to perform BVLOS, using a hybrid electric drone to inspect a four-mile section of the Trans-alska pipeline, according to reports.
The team loaded the drone with an on-board technology by Iris Automation called the Casia system, a sense-and-avoid technology that can detect other aircraft and make decisions on what kind of threat they pose.
The Casia system worked with the eight ground-based radars the team installed along the route.
Cathy Cahill, director of the university’s drone program, told Reuters that BVLOS flights are especially important for Alaska because the lack of roads in remote areas makes it difficult to complete many vital missions.
The joint program advances the industry toward the reliable integration of drones into the airspace, FAA acting administrator Dan Elwell said in a statement.
This is a major step towards retailers such as Amazon being able to make drone deliveries a reality in the country. The online giant said in June that it would expect to start rolling our delivery by drone in the US ‘in months’. Drones that fly over people however would require other permission.