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BVLOS

Published by Josh Spires on 10 October, 2022, updated on 22 January, 2024.

BVLOS

BVLOS or beyond visual line of sight refers to drone operations where the drone or aircraft flies beyond the pilot or spotter's line of sight. As a result of flying out of sight BVLOS is still a fairly new concept in the drone world with numerous extra steps involved to become an approved BVLOS operator.

The history of BVLOS

BVLOS has a relatively young history when it comes to drones. Majority of all drone operations are done within a line of sight, from photogrammetry to search and rescue operations the pilot is often right below or behind the drone.

As more drones started flying and therefore more use cases being realised, many found a need for drone operations that extend beyond the visual line of sight of the pilot. From this point on BVLOS has been the front of mind for regulators and many organisations.

The major use case for BVLOS operations at the moment, and the thing pushing it forward is drone delivery. Companies like Google's Wing, Wingcopter, Zipline, Manna Aero, and others are all delivering goods beyond a visual line of sight as we speak.

    BVLOS in Australia: use cases (air)

    Australia has been an early adopter when it comes to BVLOS operations. A big player in the space, Wing Aviation, owned by Google, has been using the City of Logan in Brisbane, and more recently, Canberra, as a test bed for BVLOS drone deliveries.

    Swoop Aero, an Australian company that has undertaken medical drone deliveries for years in Africa, recently launched a program in Australia with TerryWhite Chemmart to deliver pharmacy goods to rural Australian communities.

    Beyond drone delivery, there are now a number of companies with BVLOS approval, allowing them to undertake asset inspections, monitoring, mapping, and other long-distance applications.

    View all BVLOS use cases

    The future of BVLOS

    As BVLOS continues to expand and regulations become easier to navigate, there will be a switch from drone deliveries to data collection. There is no doubt drone deliveries will continue to happen and scale with time, but an uptake in autonomous operations that are naturally BVLOS is inevitable.

    Companies like DJI and Skydio have both announced docking station for its drones, which means operators won't be near the drone, rather in a control centre hundreds or thousands of kilometres away.

      We've launched HubX, our rugged self-sustaining mobile drone platform.

      We've launched HubX, our rugged self-sustaining mobile drone platform.

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