Innovative drone developer PrecisionHawk has been named a partner to the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s (NCDOT) Division of Aviation in its project to accelerate the testing of currently restricted unmanned aerial systems (UAS) operations. This includes beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flights, which is a technology that may possible be applied for the use of UAS drones for package delivery and other commercial applications. Drones from PrecisionHawk (Raleigh, N.C.) are used in a number of industries, including agriculture, energy, insurance, government, and construction (see figure).
“We commend the White House for recognizing the significant business potential that drones bring to agriculture, commerce, emergency management, human transportation, and other sectors,” said Diana Cooper, senior vice president of policy and strategy at PrecisionHawk. “These partnerships present a unique opportunity to advance UAS technologies in local industries, and we thank the Administration for its investment in American aviation and for sharing our vision of a regulatory roadmap that encourages innovation while ensuring airspace safety.”
The xFold Cinema drone is well equipped for use with cinema cameras for video streaming. (Courtesy of PrecisionHawk)
PrecisionHawk will join the NCDOT as part of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program (UAS IPP). For the next three years, the program will work to bring unmanned medical supply delivery and develop unmanned traffic management systems to track drones. PrecisionHawk recently reported to the FAA on BVLOS studies in its Pathfinder Report. The report offers a comprehensive safety example and various possible standards for BVLOS drone flights.
“Drones have proven to be a transformative force for business intelligence and operations, and today’s decision by the FAA amplifies this opportunity by bringing together the public and private sectors to embrace innovation while balancing the safety and security of our nation’s airspace,” said Michael Chasen, CEO of PrecisionHawk. “Our work with these exemplary agencies will open up the skies for drone flight over long distances—an imperative for commercial drone applications—and unlock the next generation of American aerial intelligence and innovation.”