Israel’s High Lander, which makes fleet management and UTM solutions, has just hit a milestone. The company has received approval for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flights in overpopulated urban areas, including residential and commercial zones, in northern Israel.
Regulators are rightly cautious in granting permission for Beyond Visual Line of Sight flights. They want to ensure that risk is minimal, both in terms of potential conflict with crewed aircraft, as well as with people and structures on the ground. That’s why regulators tend to prefer granting BVLOS permissions/waivers over sparsely populated rural areas rather than over urban locations.
And that’s why this is news.
High Lander urban BVLOS approval
In the case of High Lander, permission was granted by the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI), that country’s equivalent of the FAA. It involves remotely operated flights programmed and remotely monitored using High Lander’s Mission Control Platform, as well as its UTM solution. (We’ve actually seen the former in operation; it’s pretty slick.) Here’s what High Lander has to say:
Conducting safe BVLOS missions is an essential step in the march towards fully-enabled drone operations, but the inherent risks in flying over populated areas has held regulators back from widespread authorization. The FAA, for example, has only issued a handful of such approvals, and the CAAI has never issued such an authorization – until now. High Lander received the first-ever CAAI BVLOS authorization for urban areas and is already busy running tests and fulfilling actual missions in Hadera.
Why did the CAAI authorize this mission?
According to High Lander, there are two key reasons: its Mission Control Platform and its Universal UTM system. UTM stands for Uncrewed Traffic Management, and such systems are meant to ensure that crewed and uncrewed craft can safely share the skies (and also ensure that multiple drones don’t get in each other’s way). Again, here’s High Lander:
Mission Control is great for empowering drone operations, but our Universal UTM system is what unlocks the next generation of drone flight. Utilizing machine learning, AI, and other breakthrough technologies, Universal UTM allows multiple drone operations to fly safely in overlapping airspace, seamlessly rerouting drones to avoid collisions, no fly zones, and other obstacles.
Check out the video
This video gives a really good overall look at how the systems work together:
High Lander and Parrot
We recently reported on a partnership between these two companies. Seeing this video gives us a greater sense of the amount of work High Lander has already put into its systems. With 7,000 missions covering more than 9800 kilometers (6125 miles), the company already has a lot under its belt.
High Lander’s urban BVLOS approval marks yet another milestone.
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