Understanding BVLOS: The Future of Drone Operations

 

BVLOS, or Beyond Visual Line of Sight, represents a significant change in how drones operate. It imagines a future where drones can fly on their own over long distances. 

This has great potential for things like delivering packages, improving precision in agriculture, and inspecting critical infrastructure.

 

The realization of BVLOS operations faces a significant hurdle – the lack of universal agreement within the industry. 

One major disagreement focuses on operations at low altitudes, especially those below 500 feet near airports. The ongoing debate between existing operators and newcomers is centered on whether aircraft should be required to have electronic visibility equipment.

 

The Urgent Need for Resolution

Industry expert Todd Graetz stressed the urgency of resolving these disputes. 

Without a consensus on BVLOS operations, the United States risks lagging behind other countries in drone technology. To stay at the forefront, the nation needs clear regulations and practices. 

Regulatory uncertainty poses a challenge for domestic drone manufacturers in competing with their global competitors.

 

If industry stakeholders can agree on operational principles below 500 feet, the first BVLOS operations could become a reality by the middle to late 2024. Exciting prospects include package delivery, medical resupply, precision agriculture, and more.

Advice for Aspiring Drone Enthusiasts: Navigating the Future of Drones

For those aspiring to build a career in the drone industry, Todd provides valuable advice:

  • Choose Your Path: Determine whether you want to specialize in flying drones or focus on data acquisition, analytics, and dissemination.

 

  • Become an Expert: If opting for flying, master all aspects of drone operation, including airspace rules, technology, and safety. Consider obtaining a private pilot license for a comprehensive understanding of aviation.

 

  • Master Data: For those inclined toward data-centric roles, specialize in sensor technology, data analytics, and interpreting collected data.

 

  • Dissemination Skills: Learn effective communication and data distribution, critical for various drone applications.

The future of drones holds immense promise, with BVLOS operations leading the way in transforming the landscape of drone technology.