Airobotics receives Australia’s first approval to fly beyond-visual-line-of-sight

Airobotics, an Israeli automated drone startup with a headquarters in Scottsdale, announced Wednesday that the company received approval from the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority to operate unmanned, multi-rotor drones from its Remote Operations Center beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) — no aircrew necessary.

This advancement will allow human operators to supervise flights without requiring pilots to intervene in flight operations, a much cheaper, safer and more accessible option than using standard piloted services, according to Airobotics.

“This landmark approval is a major achievement for Airobotics and its future growth across Australia,” said Niv Russo, vice president of aviation and compliance at Airobotics. “Removing aircrews from potentially dangerous environments, like mines, enables customers to extract maximum value and reduce risk from their business operations by leveraging technology and automation.”

2018 saw several big advancements for Airobotics, including the grand opening of its Arizona headquarters, where the company says it plans to center its North, Central and South American operations. The company grew its workforce from 80 to 200 employees in its first year. In December 2018, Airobotics received $30 million in Series D funding, bringing total investments to $101 million.

Airobotics is permitted to fly without a human operator in Israel and the United States, certified by the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel in March 2017 and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in December 2018.

“We recently opened our U.S. headquarters in Arizona, and this latest certification opens the gateways to offering American mining companies, seaports, major construction projects, and in the future smart cities, an optimal means of increasing efficiency and safety while decreasing operational costs,” said Ran Krauss, CEO and co-founder of Airobotics, about the company’s certification from the FAA. “As our unique pilotless drone technology and industrial grade platform continues breaking new ground, we are able to provide customers with a more accurate and frequent data-driven solution that is the only one of its class in the industry.”

The latest certification means remote pilots at Airobotics Australia’s Remote Operations Center will be able to operate drones from more than 1,000 kilometers (about 621 miles) away, from a designated Remote Pilot Station.

The approval is another step for Airobotics in the company’s endeavor to “break new ground” on automated drone technology to create safer, more accurate data systems, Russo said.

“The ROC approval sets a new benchmark for unmanned drone operations for the Asia-Pacific region, and given the technical complexity that has been overcome, is a real testament to our in-country capability,” said Joe Urli, director of flight operations and chief remote pilot for Airobotics. “Airobotics’ unmanned drone platform significantly benefits our clients, providing them with operations that increase efficiency whilst saving operational costs and empowering flight crews to operate in secure locations hundreds of miles away from hazardous sites.”

Graham Bosch

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