In this interview, it is discussed the intricacies and challenges in optimising regulatory processes for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone operations. Jackie Dujmovic, CEO of Hover UAV calls attention to the necessity for clear and direct regulations, to simplify the approval process. They underscore the need to comprehend the concept of operations and devise suitable technical solutions accordingly. Jackie refers to progressive solutions such as parachutes, redundant systems, and software programming to reduce operational risks. She advocates for cooperation, seeking support, and educating regulators as vital tactics in managing the regulatory landscape. The conversation concludes with a discussion about the future impact of regulatory processes in maximising the potential of BVLOS operations and the importance of implementing standard scenarios to expedite the process.
This podcast held during the 2023 NestGen Flytbase event “BVLOS Operations in the Next Decade: What to Expect in 2033” features a thought leadership discussion with top CXOs in the drone industry. Hover UAVs Jackie Dujmovic was fortunate to be on this esteemed panel giving her leadership thoughts. The topic of discussion was the outlook on drone autonomy in the future. The panel discussed the challenges and opportunities that drone autonomy will bring and the potential impact on various industries. They also discussed the importance of safety and regulation in enabling the widespread use of autonomous drones, as well as the need for continued innovation in drone technology. Overall, the panelists predict a significant increase in the use of autonomous drones in the next decade, particularly in industries such as agriculture, transportation, and logistics.
For more information on BVLOS operations, approvals, or training please do not hesitate to gain contact Hover UAV for more information.
BVLOS training – The drone industry views operating Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) as the next frontier but obtaining the necessary BVLOS rating has been a challenge due to the complexity of the current licensing requirements. However, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) in Australia has introduced an alternative way of obtaining the BVLOS rating through a CASA-approved OCTA BVLOS examination, which has eliminated the barriers and complexity of the previous Instrument Rating Examination (IREX) requirement.
To help operators and organisations prepare for this new requirement, Hover UAV, a well-known drone consultancy, has launched a nationwide training program for the BVLOS Rating exam. The course covers a wide range of topics, including general BVLOS knowledge, aeronautical knowledge, meteorology, airspace classification, human factors, navigation systems, communications, and examination practice, which has been tailored to provide operators with the knowledge and skills needed to pass CASA’s OCTA BVLOS examination and as such operate safely and efficiently during BVLOS operations.
Hover UAV’s new training program is an excellent opportunity for operators and organisations looking to transition to BVLOS operations. With Hover UAV’s expertise in conducting BVLOS operations in applications such as drone delivery, operating from a remote operations center (ROC), and conducting long-range surveillance, the company is well-positioned to offer high-quality training and ensure a smooth and safe transition to BVLOS operations. The program is open to all operators across Australia, and Hover UAV is committed to providing nationwide training.
If you’re interested in Hover UAV’s BVLOS Rating examtraining program, you can visit their website to learn more and sign up for the next available training session. With the drone industry evolving rapidly, this training program is an excellent way to stay ahead of the curve and become a successful and safe BVLOS operator.
For more information please do not hesitate to reach out to Hover UAV for more information.
Drones have become increasingly popular in Australia, with more and more people using them for various purposes. However, this rise in drone usage has also raised concerns about the noise they create. The Australian Government has established regulations for drone noise, and in some cases, individuals or organisations can apply for an exemption to these regulations. Australian Drone Noise Approvals can be found here
If you’re a drone operator in Australia, it’s important to know that you must apply for approval under the Noise Regulations. The grace period for adjusting to the new regulatory framework ended on July 1st, 2022. However, most drone operators will likely be exempt or automatically granted approval. For complex or large operations, operators may need to undergo a more detailed assessment before obtaining approval from the department on the Drones.gov.au website. Dones.gov.au is an official website of the Australian Government created to provide information and guidelines related to the use of drones or remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) in Australia. The website aims to educate and inform drone operators about the regulations on safe and lawful drone operations, privacy, and noise.
Applying for Australian Drone Noise approvals?
You may need to seek approval under the Noise Regulations if:
• You are flying for a commercial purpose and/or you have been issued a remotely piloted aircraft operator’s certificate (ReOC) (visit CASA’s website).
You do not need to seek approval under the Noise Regulations if:
• You only fly drones that weigh 250 grams or less
• You only fly drones under standard operating conditions (visit CASA’s website)
• You only fly drones for one or more of the following purposes:
• Agricultural operations
• Environmental operations
• Fire-fighting, medical, emergency, or policing purposes
It is recommended you fill out the Self-assessment application form for Australian Drone Noise Approvals located at https://www.drones.gov.au/recreational/noise. You only need to complete this form once to cover your expected and typical drone operations over the next 12 months. If you are not sure about the details of the operations you may be conducting over the next year, answer the questions to the best of your knowledge. If the nature of your operations changes significantly over the next 12 months, you should complete the form again or provide additional information to the department to maintain a valid approval. Details of your obligations will be provided as part of your approval. During the self-assessment form, you will be asked a series of questions on the sort of operations and if your drone operations will impact noise-sensitive areas.
The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communication, and the Arts defines noise-sensitive sites and impacts as:
Noise-sensitive sites are locations that are used for purposes sensitive to noise. This includes:
• Residential buildings
• Schools and places of education including preschools and childcare centers
• Hospitals, aged care facilities, and other health-related facilities
• Places of worship
• Places of temporary residence including hotels and motels
• Cultural sites
• Public recreational buildings and places, e.g., open theatres and amphitheaters.
In determining whether your drone operations are likely to have an impact on noise-sensitive sites, you should take into account the following factors:
• If noise from your drone operation can be clearly heard at the noise-sensitive site, then it can be considered to have an impact.
Example: A drone operator is inspecting construction works that are next to some apartments. If the drone operator is only flying during the day while construction work is occurring, the drone is unlikely to impact the surrounding residences due to the background construction noise you should answer no it does not have an impact however. If the drone is flying at night, the drone operation would likely have an impact on the surrounding residences as there would be no background construction noise you should answer yes it would have an impact.
However, even if you are operating in a noise-sensitive area and will have a noise impact, it does not necessarily mean that you will be exempt from the noise regulations. You will need to determine if your drone operation will have a noise impact on the same noise-sensitive site(s) on an ongoing basis. To determine this, you need to base it on your typical operations or current plans for the next 12 months.
Drone operations should be considered to have an impact on an ongoing basis if they impact the same sensitive site at least four times per week on average over a period of at least 1 month.
For example, a drone delivery service regularly operates in the same suburb. Some properties in this suburb will likely be affected by drones flying overhead or providing deliveries to their neighbors on a regular basis. This operator will then have an impact on an ongoing basis. However, a commercial real-estate photographer takes photographs of different houses on a regular basis. The drone operations will impact different sites each day but will not impact the same site on an ongoing basis.
Once you have completed the required form, you will receive a notification about your exemption status. As previously mentioned, the majority of drone operations in Australia will be exempt from noise regulations. An exemption email will be sent to you, which should be kept on file or included in your CASA operation manual (in approvals/exemptions) and renewed annually or if your assessment changes.
Furthermore, the Australian Government is developing a comprehensive outcomes-based Noise Framework for emerging aviation technologies. This framework will incorporate consistent procedures for measuring the noise output of new technologies, noise impact modeling at ground level, noise-based regulations, standard noise threshold settings developed through consultation with local, state, and territorial governments, and the consideration of noise impacts associated with drones and electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles as part of the Infrastructure Planning Framework.
In conclusion, complying with drone noise regulations is crucial for safe and lawful drone operations in Australia. By understanding the regulations, monitoring noise emissions, and applying for an exemption if necessary, drone operators can ensure they are operating within the law and minimising the impact of their drones on the public and wildlife.
About the author
Hover UAV is a leading drone consulting company based in Australia. With years of experience in the industry, we specialise in providing expert advice and support to drone operators of all levels, from beginners to advanced professionals. Our team of experienced and certified drone pilots has a passion for helping our clients achieve their goals safely and efficiently. We are committed to staying up-to-date with the latest drone regulations and technologies, and we take pride in providing exceptional customer service to our clients. If you have any questions or need assistance with drone operations, don’t hesitate to contact us at Hover UAV.
The podcast featuring Jackie Dujmovic is about streamlining regulatory approval processes for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), specifically in relation to controlling drones Beyond the Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS).
Jackie Dujmovic is the CEO and Founder of Hover UAV, an Australian-based company specialising in drone services and consulting. In the podcast, she discusses the challenges of working with regulators to establish processes and regulations that enable BVLOS operations, as well as the checklist for safe BVLOS operations. Additionally, Jackie talks about unmanned systems at Australia’s Avalon Airshow and her experience working with regulators from other jurisdictions.
The podcast is sponsored by Drone Source, an Elsight production. Elsight’s Halo is an AI-powered connectivity platform for unmanned vehicles, providing a reliable and constant connection between drones and ground control stations, even in areas with little reception.
Hover UAV and ANRA Technologies are excited to announce they are one of the recipients of the Australian Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications, and the Arts, $32.6 million Emerging Aviation Technology Partnerships program. This two-year program aims to encourage the deployment of emerging aviation technologies to enhance the competitiveness, efficiency, and reliability of Australian aviation. Hover UAV and ANRA Technologies have partnered to design and test a prototype software capability to enable the safe and efficient integration of drones into Australian airspace. The software, SORA-Mate, is an app that can be used on mobile devices or web browsers to satisfy Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) requirements for complex drone operations by creating intelligent software for standardized, equitable, and repeatable Risk Assessments for Drone Operators and Authorities.
“We are thrilled to receive this grant and continue to contribute to the shared knowledge of RPAS technologies in Australia,” said Jackie Dujmovic, CEO of Hover UAV. She went on to say, “SORA-Mate is an enabler for BVLoS use cases that will expedite the approval process by streamlining and standardizing workflow while simultaneously reducing workload.”
Australian Specific Operational Risk Assessment (SORA) assessments are generated manually, with each submission assessed individually by the Australian CASA. The number of SORA assessments submitted to aviation authorities will increase as drone operators conduct more complex operations, in line with the growing need to fly Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight (BVLoS). To avoid delays and improve response times, the review of risk assessments needs to be prompt, uniformly applied, and scalable for different applications. As a starting point, presenting risk assessments in a standardised way allows CASA reviewers to make evidence-based decisions in a timely and repeatable manner.
“By making the process easier and known for both the aviation authority and drone operator, SORA-Mate will lower barriers to entry for BVLoS operations and increase productivity,” said Amit Ganjoo, Founder and CEO of ANRA Technologies. “We are thrilled to be partnered with Hover UAV to develop technology that we envision will help the Australian government and drone operators.”
SORA-Mate uses the CASA-mandated Joint Authorities for Rulemaking on Unmanned Systems (JARUS) approach to guide both the applicant and the competent authority in determining whether an operation can be conducted in a safe manner. The project will incorporate an iterative process in which the risk of complex drone operations is systematically identified. Using an intuitive graphical user interface, operators determine where, when, and how they perform the operation without endangering people and objects in the air or on the ground. At the end of this process, there is a detailed description of the planned operation, the risks associated with it, and the measures required to mitigate the risks.
SORA-Mate will connect the operator’s submission with the aviation authority for assessment, expediting the feedback loop. Drone operators will get approvals faster, CASA gains access to more data for analytics, and all stakeholders will have a common framework to assess risk and improve aviation safety. SORA-Mate’s simplified process will greatly benefit the drone community, facilitating fair and equitable access to airspace for all drone operations. The envisioned solution will provide aviation authorities with a tool to measure and assess risk using an internationally recognized methodology while simultaneously providing drone operators a known path for getting safely airborne.
“Safety in aviation relies on getting the basics right. SORA-Mate provides that platform for drone operators to achieve their safety objectives in a structured and understandable way,” said Nicola MacPhail, Emerging Aviation Lead at Hover UAV.
The SORA is critical to ensuring safe complex drone operations such as BVLoS. The process of developing these risk assessments can be cumbersome and overwhelming to some drone operators while increasing the workload on aviation authorities. SORA-Mate will help accelerate the early adoption of emerging aviation technologies by dramatically improving the decision timeline and instilling standardization. The project’s expectation is to create a nationwide framework, based on SORA approvals and information technology, enabling drone operator submissions for thorough aviation authority reviews at scale.
As one of Australia’s leading drone consulting companies Hover UAV’s extensive knowledge of the Australian airspace ecosystem and experience in developing BVLoS applications will support the SORA-Mate project by providing expertise for CONOPs development, risk assessments, and stakeholder liaison. Additionally, Hover UAV will lead the management of live flight trials, leveraging their experience as drone operators for BvLoS operations. www.hoveruav.com.au
ANRA Technologies is an international provider of airspace management solutions for autonomous aircraft operators and airspace managers. ANRA offers intelligent and modular traffic management software capabilities for UAS Traffic Management (UTM)/U-space and Urban Air Mobility (UAM) operations. For organizations that need an enterprise-class drone operations solution, ANRA offers Mission Manager, and for delivery solutions, ANRA offers DELIVERY. Learn more by visiting www.flyanra.com
In this Special Edition of Grounded, Angela Stevenson chats with Jackie Dujmovic of Hover UAV – a drone industry consultancy service – about the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the industry. Jackie gives her thoughts on what the industry looked like before the pandemic, what it’s looking like now, the use of AI in drones used for social-distancing measures, and how drone usage might change as a result.
This is a podcast for all Drone Industry or General Aviation participants Australia-wide, from Charter Operators, Flight Schools, Flight Instructors, Airshow Organisers, Maintenance Facility Operators, Airport Managers, and Associations to recreational flight enthusiasts and light aircraft enthusiasts.
It is intended to be informative, inquisitive and to create a dialogue between the many and varied entities that make up the entire GA industry.
Mustering Success with Drones – It was during the 2020 World of Drones and Robotics conference held annually in Brisbane, that Hover UAV was approached by Luke Chaplain an innovative entrepreneur in the Agtech space and 2022 Nuffield Scholar recipient who was looking to push his company to the next level. Luke’s company SkyKelpie is utilising drones for locating and mustering livestock in rural areas around Cloncurry in Australia’s northwest Queensland.
The benefits of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) related technology for such an application are invaluable. To this day cattle are mustered by graziers on foot, horseback, dirt bike, vehicle and aircraft over enormous geographical areas. This comes at a significant cost not only fiscally but in terms of time tying up resources and labour that could otherwise be utilised for other pressing tasks on the station.
Mustering livestock using drones also has the added benefit of enhancing safety. Helicopter pilots no longer need to physically fly their aircraft within close proximity to the ground or amongst trees to get the herd on the move. With RPAS technology should there be an incident whilst mustering there could be an economic loss if the RPAS were to be lost into terrain but it is unlikely to cause loss of life which is a real risk for mustering helicopter pilots. Likewise, farming staff no longer need to drive over or traverse rough, on occasion unpassable terrain inevitably enhancing safety for all involved.
Sensor technology – Mustering success using drones
As drone technology has improved it is revolutionising applications such as mustering through ever-improving features like increased range, flight duration and improved sensors. These sensors in particular thermal sensors are now remodelling the way that livestock is located which historically had always been difficult, particularly on grazing land with uneven terrain or scrub. With today’s technology, this issue is vastly improved with the ability to identify and locate livestock day or night using zoom capabilities and thermal sensors. This improves inefficiencies and guesswork for all involved in the mustering operation.
Limitations and the Solution
When SkyKelpie first commenced its livestock mustering operations it did so under visual line of sight (VLOS) conditions meaning that the drone during the entire flight mission must have been clearly visible by the drone operator without any additional aids. Whilst this was sufficient to test the viability of RPAS technology to be an effective mustering tool, it was limiting when considering the geographical spread the livestock would roam. There needed to be a solution to this limitation and as such SkyKelpie sought firstly an extended visual line of sight (EVLOS) approval prior to a beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) approval. To unleash the full potential of drone mustering it was imperative that a BVLOS approval be sought to allow for operations over larger geographic areas.
We are thrilled at Hover UAV to announce that Luke and SkyKelpie have recently achieved this BVLOS approval through the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). This approval will be groundbreaking for SkyKelpie and allow for further work in developing methods of best practice when it comes to mustering livestock utilising drones. We wish SkyKelpie all the best and can’t wait to see the hard-earned results that will be achieved from this next phase of mustering innovation.
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At Hover UAV we assist drone programs from conception to full implementation. We are a passionate team of experts, with diverse skill sets and backgrounds gained in sectors such as maritime, crewed aviation, defense, corporate and engineering sectors.