Sees.ai granted permission for trial BVLOS operations
Drone command and control solution developer, sees.ai, has become the first company in the UK to secure authorisation from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to trial a concept for routine Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations. The permissions come as part of a test project to prove the concept.
The authorisation enables sees.ai to fly BVLOS at three sites without needing to pre-authorise each flight. By removing this limitation, sees.ai said BVLOS operations stand to significantly increase operational efficiency.
The authorisation allows BVLOS flights to occur under 150ft and initially requires an observer to remain in visual line of sight with the aircraft, as well as to communicate with the remote pilot. The company will test the concept in industrial environments for inspection, monitoring and maintenance purposes first, and thereafter expand to other missions.
CEO John McKenna said: “We are accelerating towards a future where drones fly autonomously at scale – high up alongside manned aviation and low down inside our industrial sites, suburbs and cities.”
Data gathered from these test flights will be used to consider operations beyond the three trial sites.
The company is also leading a consortium of 16 companies, which recently won a share of £30m, to develop and test a remotely operated drone system for industrial and urban environments. This is part of ‘Phase 2’ of the UK’s Future Flight Challenge.
The system will be used by drone service providers, TerraDrone and SkyFutures and end clients Skanska, Skanska Costain STRABAG working in partnership with Vodafone, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, rail company Network Rail and engineering consultancy Atkins.
David Tait, head of Innovation at the CAA said: “Our innovation team was set up to meet the rapid pace of technological advances in the UK. So, to see businesses like sees.ai thriving and creating world-leading solutions that will benefit infrastructure and markets is really exciting.”