Airobotics has announced that it has been granted authorization by the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI) to fly fully automated drones without a pilot, allowing for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) commercial drone operations. Airobotics claims that the certification is a world-first.
Airobotics’ computer software and artificial intelligence takes on decisions and actions that are usually performed by a human drone pilot, potentially solving some of the biggest problems for the drone market, such as high costs of labor, increased logistics around drone operations, expensive and lengthy training of aircrew as well as enabling customers that are not drone experts to perform highly complex drone missions.
Watch the autonomous drone flights in action:
For the past 24 months, Airobotics went through rigorous field testing and product verification process, inspected by CAAI, in order to prove the system’s safety case. After accumulating over 10,000 flight hours and automated flight cycles, and producing dozens of technical manuals, engineering books, reports and analysis, Airobotics passed all necessary tests and received the certification enabling the system to operate without a pilot as a safe, reliable drone solution.
The certification process started with an Alpha version in March 2015, progressed to a Beta version on August 2015, through to MVP (Minimum Viable Product) in 2016. The process demonstrated the system’s abilities, which were corrected along the way based on CAAI’s and Airobotics’ customers’ demands. These demands included adhering to safety standards, security procedures, emergency response, system reliability, and the capability to comply with flight and mission demands per Airobotics’ concept of operation. Examples of tests include environmental conditions, endurance and robustness testing.
The certification process led by CAAI was based on the latest existing international standards for UAVs. This modern certification approach takes into consideration specific risk analysis and safety cases.
Airobotics’ drone system has already been operated in automated BVLOS mode without a certified UAV pilot at Airobotics’ first customer sites, Israel Chemicals (ICL) and Intel in Israel. Intel and ICL were instrumental as Airobotics’ first customers, and they continue to allow CAAI and Airobotics to conduct series of tests.
Based on the experience Airobotics has gained in Israel, the company is scaling its operations to additional markets, starting with Australia and USA. Airobotics recently announced its first customer in Australia, the mining company South32. Airobotics has been granted a commercial license from CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) in Australia and with an FAA waiver authorisation under Part 107 in the US.
“Here in Israel, we are always pushing the boundaries of innovation,” said Ran Krauss, CEO & Co-Founder of Airobotics. “We are proud to be at the forefront of the commercial UAV area, together with CAAI, and be able to lead the way for drone companies and regulators throughout the world.”
“Airobotics has completed a long cycle, which started in 2013. This newly granted certification is our next generation milestone that completely takes the human drone pilot out of the equation in BVLOS operations. We predict this certification milestone will revolutionize the global market landscape, and pave the way for future applications of automated drones.”
As a completely automatic unmanned aerial system, Airobotics enables industrial companies to leverage the power of drones without the need for a human operator. Airobotics’ platform provides customers with the ability to run missions automatically, allowing them to monitor, inspect, survey, and secure large industrial facilities and other strategic sites.
The Airobotics’ automatic platform is composed of three parts: “Optimus”, a large, high capacity drone capable of flying 30-minute missions while carrying a one-kilogram mission specific payload; an “Airbase”, a completely automated base station from which the Optimus drone launches and lands on its own, without any human intervention; and “Software”, an integrated, dynamic software that enables users to control and manage missions with one click.