One of the most exciting policy changes currently being discussed in the UAV industry is the extension of flights beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS).
BVLOS flights are important because they can allow UAVs to cover much greater distances thereby improving the economics and feasibility of most commercial operations. These include package delivery, pipeline and railroad inspections, mapping and search and rescue.
Presently, only operators who have been granted a waiver under FAA Part 107 may fly beyond the visual line of sight during commercial operations. The first to be issued one of these waivers was Precision Hawk in late 2016. A test site in North Dakota was the first to be issued authorization as a test site for UAV BVLOS.
The FAA is in the process of drafting new regulations to broaden BVLOS flights to the entire industry. Several hurdles for the UAV industry to overcome before this can be approved include the proving of new detection and avoidance technology and extensive safety and reliability testing.
We at Alta Devices are enthusiastic about the boom in the UAV industry that beyond the visual line of sight flights will launch and look forward to partnering with many more UAV operators.