GE venture Avitas Systems has received the FAA’s first approval to conduct civil beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) operations with radar. The approval is for low-altitude operations of a UAS weighing more than 55 pounds without an observer in Loving County, Texas, to monitor critical oil infrastructure for Shell in the Permian Basin.
Employing Avitas UAS technology and advanced analytics leads to more efficient facility monitoring and speeds repairs, the company said. The flights will use trailer-mounted radar to enhance flight and remote pilot situational awareness. UAS datalinks enable sensors to upload live streams of inspection data to the Avitas Systems Platform for analysis while controlling the flight.
“We received the FAA’s permission due to our systematic approach of using airspace management with a unique combination of proven UAS radar and communications technologies, which demonstrate that safety is our top priority,” said Michael Clatworthy, director of flight operations for Avitas Systems. “This is the first step in our approach to larger-scale BVLOS inspection operations.”