What is Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS)?
Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) are UAS operations flown beyond the pilot's line of sight. Because the UAS pilot can not see the drone, this increases the risk of crashing into objects. Usually, BVLOS UAS operations will need a visual observer (VO) or a drone equipped with detect-and-avoid technology to prevent mid-air collisions.
Expanding BVLOS UAS operations with Remote ID
Allowing for BVLOS UAS flights would expand the drone industry and allow for more advanced commercial drone use such as inspections, drone deliveries, and mapping for the commercial sector.
BVLOS UAS operations allow drones to fly at greater distances and allows for maximum efficiency. Flying BVLOS represents a significant opportunity to expand UAS operations and use the technology to its full potential.
Advanced drone operations that will benefit from BVLOS:
- Utility & Powerline
- Pipeline Inspection
- Oil & Gas
- Railway Inspection
- Search & Rescue
- Precision Agriculture
- Drone Delivery
- Smart Cities
Benefit from BVLOS UAS operations:
- Reduce costs
- Save time
- Greater efficiency
- Increase safety
BVLOS capabilities allow a drone to fly longer distances and cover more ground, improving efficiency by saving time and resources and making many commercial operations more feasible.
During the FAA Integration Pilot Program phases, many private companies and public safety departments tested BVLOS to ensure safety. The FAA is known for risk-averse regulations, and the best way to ease restrictions is to prove BVLOS drone flights' safety.
What is needed to operate BVLOS UAS operations safely:
- Detection and UAS tracking
- Drone operator training and education
Detection and UAS tracking
To integrate advanced UAS operations into the national airspace, everyone needs a clear picture of what is happening in the sky. Technology that gives all UAS flying real-time locations and their flight paths is key to preventing mid-air collisions with unmanned and manned aircraft.
Drone operator training and education
BVLOS drone operations are more complex, and pilots need more specific training to maneuver beyond sight. Training and education are crucial to implementing more advanced drone operations.
Keeping Skies Safe with Remote ID
Remote ID is a vital component of making skies safer, making advanced UAS operations like BVLOS feasible. Remote ID will make it possible to integrate UAS into the NAS and allow for a national or global Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) system.
For UTM systems to work, you must identify the drones flying in the sky at all times, just like airplanes. However, the radars built to detect planes can't detect drones.
This is where Remote ID will serve to identify the drone electronically to create the UTM systems. Remote ID serves the role of identifying drones within a given zone.
The FAA hasn't clarified how a UTM will work, and there are still hurdles facing UTM with the details on how the technology will work and privacy issues. The FAA cited privacy and security concerns for exclusively using network Remote ID; these same concerns are also noted in the GAO report as impediments to UTM implementation.