Iris Automation and Partners Flying BVLOS Missions in Quebec

Iris Automation, UAS Center of Excellence (CED Alma) and MVT Geo-solutions will soon begin flying commercial linear beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) missions over powerlines in Alma, Quebec.

Transport Canada recently issued the Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) for BVLOS flights in uncontrolled airspace using infrastructure masking to make these flights possible, according to a news release. Iris Automation’s onboard detect-and-avoid (DAA) solution, Casia, which provides UAS with automated collision avoidance maneuvers, will be used for the flights.

“Obtaining this Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) is a first in Quebec,” CED Alma President Alain Fortin said, according to the release. “As a Canadian pioneer in the civil and commercial RPAS industry, Alma’s CED is proud to have contributed to the development of technologies and skills that speed up the advent of safe and well-integrated BVLOS flight in Canadian airspace.”

These flights also mark the first time the partners have flown outside the CED test range using onboard DAA for risk mitigation without ground-based visual observers or radar.

“This permission further demonstrates how the Casia onboard detect-and-avoid (DAA) system is helping to advance the safety case for drone usage while simultaneously expanding the envelope of drone-related use cases,” Iris Automation CEO Jon Damush said, according to the release. “Drones offer tremendous promise in terms of safety and economics as compared to piloted aviation alternatives, but we must integrate them into the airspace safely. Seeing and avoiding other aircraft is paramount to that safety, and steps like this are key to unlocking the promise of drones.”