Iris Automation has been granted a second waiver for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) autonomous operations on behalf of the City of Reno, NV. The waiver will enable the City to increase the testing of UAS for its public safety operations, to reduce the resources required for these missions and decrease risks to personnel.

“Getting to BVLOS is a significant milestone for search and rescue missions as well as for the safety of our employees,” Reno Fire Chief Dave Cochran said. “Drones allow us to launch into flight safely at a moment’s notice, with new and more effective approaches to making our downtown river corridor safer while also saving time and money. This accomplishment provides a blueprint for other fire departments, public agencies, and enterprises to utilize drones.”

This waiver is an important step in achieving autonomous flight, first testing over unpopulated areas before it can move to urban areas. The first waiver covers a rural, unpopulated area south of Reno and was submitted by Iris Automation for the use of its advanced, onboard detect and avoid solution, Casia X. It provides situational awareness exceeding that of a human pilot.

This BVLOS waiver will allow the City to continue to test its use of UAVs to improve public safety operations and increase safety. This time, the waiver is for the deployment of Iris Automation’s patented Casia G detect-and-avoid solutions.

Casia G, a ground-based version of its detect and avoid (DAA) surveillance solution, does not require integration onto the aircraft, preserving payload for sensors or packages while providing a greater choice of aircraft. The system creates a stationary perimeter of sanitized, monitored airspace, enabling UAVs to perform work safely. Casia G provides awareness of intruder-piloted aircraft to maneuver UAVs to safe zones.

“Casia technology provides a critical safety layer, helping to enable the integration of uncrewed aircraft into our national airspace,” stated Gabrielle Wain, VP of Global Policy and Government Affairs at Iris Automation. “This latest approval to fly BVLOS using Casia G gives operators looking to perform remote and one-to-many operations a solution to mitigate the risk of mid-air collisions, without having to use human visual observers. This is a critical step for the economical scaling of small UAS BVLOS missions.”

This BVLOS waiver is the latest milestone in the City of Reno’s ongoing effort to integrate UAS into its safety operations. The city is a participant in the BEYOND program, a collaboration to advance complex UAS operation in the National Airspace System involving the FAA, industry, and state, local, and tribal governments.

According to Jon Damush, CEO of Iris Automation, “The BEYOND program is an important example of constructive government and industry cooperation, and a testament to the forward-thinking leadership of the City of Reno. We’re thrilled to work side by side with the FAA and our home city, delivering our technology to enhance the daily lives of our community and beyond. We appreciate the FAA leadership of this program and the many areas it is involved in to advance the industry.”

Damush reports that Iris Automation has been working with the FAA and partners for years “to develop our technology as a critical safety layer, helping to mitigate the risk of mid-air collisions and enable the integration of uncrewed aircraft into our national airspace.”

These efforts, he stated, “have led to the development of our 360-degree field of view Casia X on-board system, designed to provide an effective additional layer mitigation against mid-air collision risk at a size, weight, and price point that enables our industry. We expect to see more of these waivers as the industry adopts autonomous flight, and we look forward to leading the way and helping to realize this future vision.”