FAA grants American Robotics BVLOS authorization at seven new sites

American Robotics, a leading provider of fully automated drone services to enterprise customers, has obtained authorizations to operate beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flights at seven work sites across the US, bringing the company’s total to 10.

American Robotics’ parent company Ondas made the announcement after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted approval of the seven new BVLOS authorizations for the automated docked drone system, Scout, which along with the three previous waivers cover customer sites in eight states. 

American Robotics CEO Reece Mozer recently told DroneDJ that the company’s additional, groundbreaking achievement of gaining FAA approval to operate BVLOS flights without a human monitor on hand was a major step in being able to offer industrial and infrastructure clients entirely automated, 24/7 drone inspection, surveying, and monitoring services.

The new rash of authorizations is not only a reflection of American Robotics’ business plan and ability to provide automated BVLOS flights as its routine mode of operation, but also the company’s success through years of work in gaining the FAA’s confidence in Scout’s safety. The advance of automation in enterprise UAV missions more broadly, Mozer predicted, promises to make 2022 the year when those activities surpass higher profile but limited use cases like merchandise and food deliveries.

“American Robotics is excited to have seven additional sites of operation approved by the FAA,” said Mozer. “As we continue to build upon our offerings, we look forward to providing current and future customers with the tools needed to unlock scalable, autonomous drone operations that will help propel their businesses and critical industries forward. Not only is this a milestone for American Robotics, but it is also another signal that we have reached an inflection point in commercial drone operations in the United States.”

Mozer believes the increasing number of BVLOS waivers will allow fully automated drone services benefitting current American Robotic customers like Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and supply audit and optimization company Stockpile Reports to increasingly appeal to other potential enterprise clients. The reason: Removing the constraints of humans having to be onsite to fly – or merely observe ­– drones performing inspection or surveying missions of industrial, construction, or transport infrastructure is obligatory to make automated UAV services scalable and valuable in 90% of commercial use cases, he says. 

David Boardman, CEO of Stockpile Reports, concurs.

“Every step by American Robotics toward full autonomy is significant: autonomous drones provide continuous, real-time information,” Boardman. “With zero touch, high frequency automated data collection, the bulk materials supply chain will be transformed as we can provide answers to enable real-time decisions at any site. This approval is a critical turning point in addressing the market demand for continuous information.”

American Robotics said the new BVLOS authorizations cover client sites ranging from 0.1 to 14 square miles in size in North Dakota, Louisiana, New Mexico, Nevada, California, and South Carolina, and permit flights under 400 feet within each of those defined areas.

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