US drone company gets greenlight to operate with no pilots on site

Waltham, Massachusetts (US) – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted its approval for autonomous drone services company American Robotics to expand its automated technology where its drones can fly with no human pilots on-site to seven more locations in the US.

This brings the total number of work sites where the company is authorised to operate autonomous BVLOS flights to ten.

An Ondas Holdings company, American Robotics develops fully-automated drone systems, which provide ultra-high resolution aerial data to enterprise customers. The company also runs a fully-automated BVLOS drone technology system, the Scout System, capable of continuous, unattended operation, which enables American Robotics to offer enterprise customers the ability to continuously monitor, digitise and analyse their assets in real-time.

It is the Scout System technology for which American Robotics has received the green light from the FAA to deploy while operating at the ten approved sites.

The approval allows the company to operate automated drones without human operators present on location, something which American Robotics says is instrumental in building “upon its industry-leading position with a portfolio of ten operational sites across eight US states associated with current and expected customers.”

This approval represents another important step towards scalable autonomous operations within the commercial drone industry, the company added, and is a nod to its industry-leading proprietary safety technologies, such as automated system diagnostics, path planning, and aircraft avoidance.

“American Robotics is excited to have seven additional sites of operation approved by the FAA,” said Reese Mozer, co-founder and CEO of American Robotics. “As we continue to build upon our offerings, we look forward to providing current and future customers with the tools needed to unlock scalable, autonomous drone operations that will help propel their businesses and critical industries forward.

“Not only is this a milestone for American Robotics, but it is also another signal that we have reached an inflection point in commercial drone operations in the United States, and American Robotics is proud to be at the forefront of these industry advancements.”

The seven new sites are located in North Dakota, Louisiana, New Mexico, Nevada, California, and South Carolina and they can now take advantage of autonomous drone capabilities with the Scout System.

The new sites were added to American Robotics’ existing waiver and exemption package, permitting automated BVLOS. Flights are permitted under 400 feet within the operational area defined by each site.

Without FAA approval, human pilots and visual observers are required to be present on-site while the drones are in operation; a reality which American Robotics argues dramatically reduces the practicality, affordability, and viability of commercial drone use in critical industries, including oil and gas, rail and stockpiles and mining.

“Every step by American Robotics toward full autonomy is significant: autonomous drones provide continuous, real-time information,” says David Boardman, CEO of Stockpile Reports, one of American Robotics’ clients.

“With zero touch, high frequency automated data collection, the bulk materials supply chain will be transformed as we can provide answers to enable real-time decisions at any site. This approval is a critical turning point in addressing the market demand for continuous information.”

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