Applied Aeronautics has developed a new version of its Albatross UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) designed for BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) missions. The unmanned aircraft has been equipped with Iris Automation’s advanced Casia drone detect-and-avoid (DAA) solution.
The new Albatross features a high-efficiency design that provides a flight endurance of up to four hours, and critical capabilities for BVLOS including specialized communications, modular application-specific payloads, and the Casia DAA system.
Applied Aeronautics will manufacture the Albatross BVLOS at its new composites facility in Austin, Texas, bringing advanced-manufacturing jobs to the region. The facility is being built to support a surge in demand from the global commercial and military sectors for affordable, long-endurance, BVLOS solutions.
Iris Automation’s Casia allows UAVs to see and react to the aviation environment around it, providing situational awareness for remote pilots and enhancing air safety. Casia detects other aircraft using computer-vision algorithms to classify them, makes intelligent decisions about the threat they may pose to the drone and then triggers an alert to execute maneuvers to safely avoid collisions.
The two companies have previously partnered on several successful BVLOS projects, including the FAA’s Integration Pilot Program, and commercial inspection operations in Canada. Casia-equipped Albatross aircraft are also supporting long range missions in Latin America.
Meg Annand, chief operating officer at Applied Aeronautics, commented: “This is an important development both for us and our customers. As they seek to move beyond a sandbox environment into more widespread deployment and demand for our system accelerates across the board, we’re looking forward to responding with an affordable BVLOS solution that is not only holistically designed but homegrown, here in the USA.”
Lori DeMatteis, vice president of sales and marketing at Iris Automation, said: “This partnership opens a new pathway for global military and enterprise operators to evolve from traditional platforms to affordable UAVs with high levels of safety. This delivers immediate, tangible business outcomes while protecting the safety reputations of operators and their customers as well as the general public.”