Iris Automation announces ‘Pathfinder’ BVLOS program

For many commercial operations, being able to fly Beyond Visual Line of Sight opens the door to new opportunities. Now, Iris Automation has partnered to help offer a solution to operations in Canada seeking to get to this next stage.

Whether you’re in the US or Canada (or elsewhere), BVLOS flight means a wealth of new commercial opportunities. Tasks like pipeline monitoring, surveillance, and other forms of long-range data acquisition require Beyond Visual Line of Sight flight to be practical. But that’s not an easy task. There must be risk mitigation, careful analysis of the mission path, along with special applications for waivers and Special Flight Operations Certificates.

Now, Iris Automation says it can help.

Canada Pathfinder Program

Obtaining BVLOS clearance in Canada is anything but a slam dunk. You’ll need to satisfy Transport Canada that you really know what you’re doing and that the risks posed by your operation are both minimal and acceptable. This includes a good look at the kind of mission, the airspace, the safety of the drone you plan to be flying, emergency plans – and much more.

Testing at the Iris Automation site…

It’s the kind of thing where most commercial operators could use a hand. And that’s precisely what Iris Automation is now offering. In partnership with Canada’s two Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) test sites – Foremost UAS Test Range in Alberta and UAS Center of Excellence (CED) in Alma, Quebec – it’s offering a comprehensive program.

The program includes flight training, assistance gaining BVLOS approvals, a BVLOS safety system, engineering and regulatory support, and test center access. The Program is open to any organizations interested in operating BVLOS services inside Canada.

Iris Automation News Release

The deets

Here are some specifics that program offers, straight from the Iris Automation news release:

  • A baseline of pre-requisites needed for achieving BVLOS advanced operations approvals from Transport Canada (TC).
  • Expedited issuance of TC Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) for BVLOS flights within test centers.  
  • Team training and standard procedures on how to perform safe BVLOS operations. 
  • The BVLOS flight experience needed to apply for subsequent SFOC approvals.

The reaction

Those involved with the program see immense potential.

We see incredible interest in utilizing commercial drone operations but concerns about how to launch a program safely, efficiently and in compliance with current regulations. Teaming with Iris Automation to provide this complete program will help many companies to finally embrace the potential of drone operations. As a Canadian pioneer in the civil and commercial RPAS industry, we are proud to continue to develop the technologies and skills that speed up the advent of safe and well-integrated BVLOS flight in Canadian airspace.

William De Keiser, Director of the Cluster of Excellence, CED
The Iris Automation Casia Detect and Avoid system is installed on this RPAS

Our primary aim is to advance BVLOS operations in Canada. We look forward to working with Iris Automation to help drone companies move from VLOS to safe BVLOS operations.

Doug Hanna, General Manager of the Foremost UAS Test Range

Our work in Canada, specifically with Transport Canada and the RPAS test sites, has demonstrated the incredible opportunities the country offers for advanced commercial drone solutions. We’re excited to partner with the CED Alma and Foremost as a way to bring the expertise required to local markets and help jumpstart the efforts for organizations keen to get started.

Gabrielle Wain, vice president of regulatory affairs at Iris Automation

Iris Automation

Iris Automation is a leader in the Detect-and-Avoid space, building systems that help companies safely fly Beyond Visual Line of Sight. The company is already participating in the Federal Aviation Administration’s BEYOND program to advance more complex UAS operations BVLOS in the US. Its 360° Detect-and-Avoid system, Casia, includes automated collision avoidance manoeuvres.

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