Unmanned Vehicle Technologies (UVT), a drone technology provider, has joined forces with Iris Automation, an innovator in safety avionics technology, to facilitate large-scale beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations for UVT's users, eliminating the need for visual observers (VOs).

Known for its detect and avoid (DAA) Casia X and Casia I systems, Iris Automation’s mission is to create safer airspace while increasing productivity and pushing toward the approval of BVLOS missions globally. Although the Casia onboard DAA systems make it easier and safer to fly a drone out of sight, or in a busy airspace, there are also some limitations when it comes to drone integration. For example, not all manufactured drones are ready to incorporate non-cooperative DAA systems. Then, developing a DAA system that can communicate with a drone’s proprietary autopilot system might be hard, or even impossible at scale. Finally, most commercial operators use smaller drones that can’t support the payload due to weight, or power-output limitations.

That’s why, in 2022, Iris Automation introduced the Casia G - to alleviate the hurdles of integrating DAA systems with drones. The ground-based Casia G functions separately from the drone and can be installed in any location with a clear view of the skyline, including rooftops, extendable masts, water towers, cellular towers, or even a contractor tripod, to establish a monitored airspace volume for safe operations. To positively identify flying objects, the system uses an ADS-B and six machine vision cameras that feed a live video stream into a graphical processing unit with deep learning algorithms, reaching a 97% overall detection rate. Once the system identifies an object, it promptly alerts remote pilots if there is an airborne intruder posing a collision risk, allowing them to guide the drone to a safe zone.

By utilizing Casia G, individual VOs for each drone operation are no longer required, allowing teams to perform BVLOS operations. To cover operational areas of any size, teams can deploy multiple Casia G systems, establishing a network of safe airspace that supports the simultaneous operation of multiple drones from various launch points, all from one centralized management point.

“Integrating Casia G into our product suite is a game changer for us and our clients,” said Matt Rybar, VP of Special Projects, UVT. “Breaking the constraints of VOs makes these operations much more manageable and effective, particularly for public safety and law enforcement. We’re excited to see our clients take on ever more ambitious projects thanks to this partnership.”

As one of the largest drone and robotics dealers in North America, UVT offers end-to-end comprehensive drone services to users in public safety, utilities, and construction organizations. These services include consultation, site surveys, hardware and software provisions, operational and technical guidance, training, installation, support, and the necessary regulatory permissions. By partnering with Iris Automation, UVT customers will now have access to Casia G, unleashing a new level of scale while maintaining the degree of safety required for any airborne operation.

“The engagements UVT undertakes with its customers are a perfect example of where Casia G can dramatically improve the whole scope and effectiveness of remote operations, particularly for Drone as a First Responder programs," added Jon Damush, CEO, Iris Automation. "Until now, DFR programs have been limited by the need for VOs. UVT is leading the way in helping customers go to the next level by enabling them with cutting edge operational and safety technologies, as well as effective regulatory support.”