Recognizing the challenges organizations face advancing commercial drone services to perform long distance and remotely piloted missions, Iris Automation has launched the Canada Pathfinder Program, an all-in-one solution to streamline the complex steps required to achieve BVLOS approvals and experience.
Iris Automation has partnered with two of Canada’s leading RPAS (remotely piloted aircraft system) test facilities for support, training and proving BVLOS flight competency - Foremost UAS Test Range in Alberta and UAS Center of Excellence (CED) in Alma, Quebec.
The program includes flight training, assistance gaining BVLOS approvals, a BVLOS safety system, engineering and regulatory support, and test center access. The program is open to any organizations interested in operating BVLOS services inside Canada.
The benefits the Canada Pathfinder Program delivers:
- A baseline of pre-requisites needed for achieving BVLOS advanced operations approvals from Transport Canada (TC)
- Expedited issuance of TC Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) for BVLOS flights within test centers
- Team training and standard procedures on how to perform safe BVLOS operations
- The BVLOS flight experience needed to apply for subsequent SFOC approvals
William De Keiser, director of the cluster of excellence, CED said, “We see incredible interest in utilizing commercial drone operations but concerns about how to launch a program safely, efficiently and in compliance with current regulations. Teaming with Iris Automation to provide this complete program will help many companies to finally embrace the potential of drone operations. As a Canadian pioneer in the civil and commercial RPAS industry, we are proud to continue to develop the technologies and skills that speed up the advent of safe and well-integrated BVLOS flight in Canadian airspace.”
Doug Hanna, general manager of the Foremost UAS Test Range said, “Our primary aim is to advance BVLOS operations in Canada. We look forward to working with Iris Automation to help drone companies move from VLOS to safe BVLOS operations.”
Gabrielle Wain, vice president of regulatory affairs at Iris Automation said, “Our work in Canada, specifically with Transport Canada and the RPAS test sites, has demonstrated the incredible opportunities the country offers for advanced commercial drone solutions. We’re excited to partner with the CED Alma and Foremost as a way to bring the expertise required to local markets and help jumpstart the efforts for organizations keen to get started.”
In October, Transport Canada issued the second Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flights in uncontrolled airspace utilizing infrastructure masking and Iris Automation’s onboard detect-and-avoid (DAA) solution to MVT Geo-solutions.
Under this SFOC, MVT, the UAS Center of Excellence (CED Alma), and Iris Automation are partnering to conduct commercial missions over linear power lines in Alma, Quebec. Approval was granted to include the utilization of Iris Automation’s DAA system, Casia, which provides commercial drones with automated collision avoidance maneuvers.
Iris Automation already participates in the Federal Aviation Administration’s BEYOND program to advance more complex UAS operations BVLOS in the US National Airspace System.
Iris Automation is committed to developing critical detection technologies and working closely with global policymakers and regulators to develop appropriate BVLOS safety standards. Ultimately for commercial drone use to become widespread, clear standards for incorporating onboard DAA will be necessary to ensure a high degree of air safety.