Airobotics gets FAA Type Certification
We guess the US Federal Aviation Administration was feeling really generous at the Commercial UAV Expo held in Las Vegas this past week.
Fresh from handing out Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) licences to package delivery company UPS and uAvionix, the aviation regulator has made Airobotics the first company in the country to acquire and Airworthiness Type Certification for its drone nest solutions.
The certification was awarded to Airobotics Inc’s Optimus-1EX, a drone-in-a-box combo that comprises an unmanned aircraft (UA) and its associated elements that include communication links and the components that control the UA.
The multi-rotor, battery-powered drone itself has a maximum gross take-off weight of 23 pounds, is approximately 70 inches in width, 70 inches in length, and thirteen inches in height.
With a maximum flight altitude of 400 feet above ground level, a cruise speed of 27 knots, and BVLOS capabilities, the can be used for surveying, mapping, inspection of critical infrastructure, and patrolling.
This means the drone has to fly over public places and over people to operate at a scale; and it needed federal authorisation to do that.
The certification for a non-air carrier UA was a four-year love affair with the regulator, which started with the application in 2019, and followed by intensive engineering and operational review processes conducted by the FAA.
In their application, Airobotics revealed that operations for the Optimus-1Ex would rely on high levels of automation and may include multiple drones operated by a single pilot – up to a ratio of 20 drones to one pilot.
The certification was announced by FAA’s Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety, David Boulter, to make Airobotics Optimus-1EX the second ever Uncrewed Aircraft to receive this certification after Zipline; and the first Drone-in-a-Box solution provider to obtain this status.
“We are thrilled to be the only US company currently to have the capability to deploy fully automated drones with Type Certificate in the US as permanent aerial infrastructures in populated and complex environments,” said Meir Kliner, Airobotics’ CEO.
“Drones without an airworthiness certificate face great obstacles in obtaining waivers to operate over people and active roads, and we believe that our Type certified Optimus-1EX drone will soon be deployed in a broader range of scenarios.
“The last type certificate given by the FAA was for a package delivery drone and now we have opened the opportunity for more lifesaving applications such as Drone First Responding (DFR), rapid infrastructure survey for disaster relief applications and more.”
The Optimus System is already operating regularly in urban environments in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Airobotics said it plans to leverage its UAE experience to conduct similar operations in urban environments across the US.