Today, Transport Canada granted the first certificate for beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) for special flight drone operations to MVT Geo-solutions, in partnership with Iris Automation, using only onboard detect-and-avoid (DAA).

The approval from Transport Canada was based on the use of Iris Automation’s detect-and-avoid (DAA) system, called Casia, that enables commercial drones to automatically use collision avoidance manoeuvres.

The waiver from Transport Canada allows for BVLOS drone operations within the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Center of Excellence’s controlled airspace remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) test range in Alma, Quebec. It will be the first time at the location that a BVLOS drone flight will leverage onboard DAA for air risk mitigation that does not require ground-based observers or radar.

Many advanced drone operations, such as drone flights for mining, inspection, mapping, and package delivery purposes, would be unlocked by BVLOS.

‘Achieving the first BVLOS approval in Canada further validates our technology alongside multiple permissions we have already received from regulators in the US and South Africa,’ said Iris Automation CEO Alexander Harmsen. ‘This technology is critical to safely integrate drones into the airspace along with manned aircraft, and we look forward to unlocking commercial operations for our customers in Canada.’

Iris Automation’s onboard computer-vision DAA system is the most effective, scalable, and cost-effective technology to enable commercial BVLOS operations, according to a statement.

‘The UAS Center of Excellence is looking forward to leveraging Iris Automation’s industry-leading DAA system and existing flight expertise within our network to conduct BVLOS flights with MVT Geo-solutions,’ said UAS Center of Excellence director William de Keiser. ‘We will continue to develop our partnership with Iris Automation to provide training to local operators and enable BVLOS flights in Canada.’

The first BVLOS flights are scheduled to take place within weeks. The resulting data will inform more complex BVLOS operations in the future.

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