29 Apr What is BVLOS?
BVLOS – WHAT IS IT?
BVLOS – “Beyond Visual Line of Sight” is considered the frontier of the drone industry in today’s current climate. It means that drones fly beyond the visual line of sight of the operator which for most commercial drone operators is a foreign concept due to regulatory requirements and operational constraints in particular reliability of equipment. Advantages of BVLOS operations are that they enable service providers to introduce more complex operations and capabilities such as drone delivery or long range inspections. It also allows drones to operate entirely with out the need of a pilot for take off and landing. BVLOS is already trans-formative because it is facilitating thousands of new applications for UAV technology across a number of industries and it will pave the way for “air mobility” the transport of people and products.
A major factor for BVLOS operations to become common place within the industry is that the drones themselves need to be airworthy and reliable. This comes with extensive research and development. As well as proving airworthiness, there are a raft of regulatory constraints that need to be worked through. The primary concern for manufacturers, operators and regulators of BVLOS systems is “safety” hence meeting dynamic regulatory requirements for “airworthiness” to ensure risk is mitigated is vital.
See and Avoid
For BVLOS operations to be conducted successfully a system of “see and avoid” must be adopted where the drone is able to use computers and sensors to detect nearby air traffic and safely navigate accordingly. These sensors may include cameras, lidar or radar to detect obstructions during flight. Drones must be able to sense and respond to their local environment, altering their height and flying trajectory in order to avoid colliding with other objects or manned aircraft in the vicinity.
Long range drone operations communicate command and control system telemetry and other data back to remotely positioned operators without link loss, making reliability an absolute necessity. Communication technologies utilised to facilitate a reliable data link are radio, cell and satellite communication methods.
What are the best drones for BVLOS operations?
VTOL – “Vertical take off and landing” fixed wing drones are proving to be a common drone platform for BVLOS operations and the answer to complex long range BVLOS operations. Reasons for this is that multi rotors are less efficient relying on downward thrust to keep them in the air whilst a VTOL fixed wing drone can utilise its efficient wing design to travel further using a fraction of the battery capacity a multi rotor would require. Multi rotors however are being used for BVLOS operations and their design is improving exponentially as is battery and power source efficiency.
BVLOS is revolutionary for commercial drone operators. It allows the drone industry to break free of the shackles historically holding it back where drones had to be operated within visual line of sight parameters. It truly opens the door to thousands of new applications into the future such as long range monitoring of game parks for poaching, delivering life saving medical equipment or long range surveillance of beaches for marine hazards and will enable data gathering on a large scale without the drone operator having to be in close proximity to the drone. All eyes are on BVLOS applications and investor interest is at a peak right now, with all keeping a keen eye on regulatory movements as the industry forges forward into this exciting future.
If you are an industry or organisation looking to incorporate Extended Visual line of sight “EVLOS” or Beyond Visual Line of Sight “BVLOS” operations into your work flow then please do not hesitate to contact Hover UAV for advice on the best path way forward in achieving such outcomes.