Commercial drone company American Robotics took to the skies this week, becoming the first FAA-approved company to operate automated drones with no human operators on site.
With this approval, American Robotics can use its scout drone system with acoustic detect-and-avoid (DAA) technology, which allows drones to maintain a safe distance from other aircraft.
According to company representatives, the drone-based aerial reconnaissance platform can also be operated safely in the National Airspace System (NAS) when flights are carried out outside the operator’s line of sight (BVLOS).
Every Scout drone “lives” in a weatherproof base station that enables autonomous charging, data processing and analysis at the edge, as well as data transmission. After the on-site installation, all facets of the scout operation are automated so that the drones can collect and analyze high-resolution data several times a day for several years without human intervention.
The Scout system consists of three main components:
- Explore – an autonomous unmanned aircraft powered by AI and advanced imaging payloads.
- ScoutBase – A weatherproof base station that serves as a nerve center and communication center for Scout. ScoutBase saves and charges Scout autonomously, processes the raw data collected during each flight and transfers the analyzed information to American Robotics’ cloud-based data centers.
- ScoutView – A secure web portal and an API that enables remote interaction with the system, data and the resulting analyzes worldwide.
“With these approvals, American Robotics ushers in a new era of widespread automated drone operations,” said Reese Mozer, CEO and co-founder of American Robotics.
“Decades of promises and projections are finally coming to fruition. We pride ourselves on being the first to meet the FAA’s extensive security requirements that previously limited the viability of drones in commercial use. We are grateful for the willingness of the FAA to work closely with American Robotics on this precedent approval for the past four years. With these approvals, American Robotics can safely operate our automated scout platform for the benefit of the energy, infrastructure, agriculture, and security industries, tapping the planned commercial drone market of $ 100 billion. “
Lisa Ellman, Partner and Chair of the Global UAS Practice at Hogan Lovells and Executive Director of the Commercial Drone Alliance, added, “The commercial drone industry is growing rapidly and providing significant benefits to the American public, but enabling advanced operations beyond visual line of sight is critical for the real upswing in the industry. “
“Automated BVLOS operations are particularly important in opening up the commercial sector to the drone economy, including the agricultural and industrial sectors. The key to this process is the use and acceptance of new and innovative security technologies by the FAA, e.g. B. DAA sensors (Detect and Avoid) and software-based automation. American Robotics’ groundbreaking and exciting FAA approval is an important and significant step forward for the entire commercial drone community. “
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