Unmanned aerial vehicles cannot be flown at night, take off over people, and someone must always keep an eye on their movements – strict rules prevent buzzing structures or their careless owners from harming people, objects or other aircraft.
Skydio’s small but more knowledgeable machine easily overcomes this hurdle as well. This is probably why he has been exempted from the VLOS rule by the US Aviation Authority (FAA), meaning he no longer has to remain visible to the pilot.
In early October, the FAA granted the North Carolina Transportation Authority an exception to allow a company device founded by former Google drone engineers to fly beyond the visual line of sight. With a four-year permit, professionals can also inspect federal state bridges from the air faster, cheaper and safer than before, the IoT Zone writes. However, the robotic airplane must not be more than 15 meters (50 feet) away from the bridge and must not be more than 457 meters (1,500 feet) away from the remote pilot. Furthermore, this type of control is only possible if no one is currently on the bridge.
This is not the first time that the regulatory authority has been out of sight, the so-called It issues a BVLOS license. Previously, these permits were mainly for only one or a few occasions, and official pilots had to apply for it months earlier. In 2015, the federal organization has already indicated that it expects a rapid expansion of droning, especially for flights over greater distances than before. And since last year, it has become even more outlined what regulatory changes more advanced aircraft can bring.
Since October 2019, UPS has been able to operate a so-called drone airline and its aircraft can leave the operator’s line of sight, and in August this year, Amazon Prime Air obtained a similar license. In July, Chula Vista police in California received the seal at their request that they could fly longer distances with Skydio devices in emergencies.
The machines must not be as high as 15 meters above the highest obstacle, must not be more than 457 meters away from the operator and, as far as possible, must be within sight again.
Also in these tactical BVLOS cases, it is a requirement that the person operating the machine has a special qualification.
Last January, State Farm inspectors, which brought together insurance companies across America, had the opportunity to do so, and since August 2019, Xcel Energy has been able to drone-check the condition of power lines in its eight federal states.
The significance of the North Carolina change is given by the fact that it affects commercial droning, and from now on virtually anyone can apply for a state-wide permit for years to start their business with their own machines. Although the FAA still has the best trust in local transportation authorities, it is conceivable that in the future, individual, reliable pilots will also be able to legally send such aircraft out of sight.