Beyond Visual Line of Sight – otherwise known as BVLOS – is one of the key benefits for drone usage. This is different from VLOS (Visual Line of Sight)operations, which refers to anything within a pilot’s line of sight. When it comes to operating Beyond Visual Line of Sight, the drone has the unique ability to fly any place where the pilot – or any human, for that matter –can not typically travel or see, due to safety, environmental, or other concerns.
How Beyond Visual Line of Sight Operations Work
Geospatial World provides a detailed description of how BVLOS operations work: “Drones flying Beyond Visual Line of Sight are controlled by data provided by on-board instruments. Information is transmitted via a telemetry link that informs the operator about the position, altitude, speed and direction of flight, as well as all relevant parameters of the aircraft. However, UAVs flying BVLOS can also change flight parameters and control sensors to collect data” (geospatialworld.net).From agriculture to HAZMAT operations, there are numerous applications for this type of technology, based on the rich data and information BVLOS operations provide.
Just because someone is a skilled aviator, that does not automatically qualify him or her to pilot a BVLOS operation. Because the skillset and information a BVLOS pilot uses differ from a manned helicopter or airplane flight, pilots who wish to engage in these operations must first demonstrate proficiency with drones. They must also possess the ability to respond effectively to specific scenarios that are unique to unmanned flights before they can become certified to remotely pilot these important missions.
Why Beyond Visual Line of Sight Operations are Important
There are many benefits and reasons for deploying a drone for a Beyond Visual Line of Sight operation, including the following:
- BVLOS operations can save money and time. Funding a manned flight is a costly operation, whereas an operation using a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) can be much cheaper, from start to finish. Even though a BVLOS operation still requires a pilot, the amount of time to ready the drone, take off, complete the operation, and return to home base can be done much more easily and efficiently with an unmanned vehicle.
- BVLOS operations can provide more data. Unlike a manned helicopter or airplane, drones can fly closer to the ground, meaning that data and other information will be easier to detect, photograph, and gather. The high-resolution pictures one can capture from a traditional manned operation simply do not compare to a BVLOS operation.
Moreover, UAVs have the ability to move through areas quickly. At the same time, they can still gather mass amounts of information that would not be possible during a manned mission. This means that one BVLOS operation could essentially complete the work of several manned helicopter or airplane missions, reducing the need for multiple deployments for a particular purpose.
- BVLOS operations can be safer. Depending upon where you are deploying the drone to gather data, photos, and other critical information, you may be sending the vehicle into a dangerous location. For example, you may wish to gather information in areas with harsh environmental conditions (such as exceptionally hot regions, arctic areas, extremely small spaces, etc.). Or, in the case of an oil or gas leak, it could be incredibly dangerous for a person to enter the zone where the leak occurred. Rather than putting the pilot in imminent danger, the drone can fly through dangerous zones, without putting human life at risk.
The downside to BVLOS
Despite the exciting potential to Beyond Visual Line of Sight operations, the one major challenge is obtaining the necessary permissions to undertake this sort of operation. Although BVLOS missions have been granted permission across Europe, Asia, Canada, and other parts of the world, it is still exceptionally difficult to receive a waiver in the United States. Of course, maintaining a safe airspace is a top priority worldwide, but the stringent FAA requirements and process have resulted in a low waiver-approval success rate. In fact, a mere 1% of submitted waivers have been granted approval, as of this writing (Source: precisionhawk.com).
However, as the benefits of BVLOS operations continue to confirm the cost-effective, data-rich nature of these missions, it is our hope that all countries, including the U.S., will work with waiver applicants to make their visions a reality in BLVOS operations.
Aerial Response Solutions (ARS): Ready to Assist with Any of Your BVLOS Operations
For all of your Beyond Visual Line of Sight operations, you can trust Aerial Response Solutions. Our drones are ready and able to operate in all conditions – including areas beyond the hotzone – to collect the information and data that your organization needs.
Need thermal, heat, or chemical sensors? Not a problem; our drones are fully customizable, so they can be tailored to meet your precise specifications. In addition, our UAVs can capture real-time video, engage in modeling, detect potential threats, and conduct inspections, just to name a few uses and applications.
It doesn’t matter if you work in the energy industry, intelligence space, agriculture sector, or any other industry – UAVs can serve multiple purposes and provide your organization with the information it needs to run accurately, smoothly, efficiently, and cost-effectively.
If you are interested in learning more about Beyond Visual Line of Sight operations and how Aerial Response Solutions may assist you with a future operation, visit us online at http://www.aerialresponsesolutions.com/.