Regulatory aspects of SWaP
In the previous parts (Part 1 Part 2) we have established that thanks to the powerful combination of cloud computing and a secure, reliable drone datalink, you can do away with the need for certain onboard components and shave off some of your SWaP footprint. But what are the “must-have” components for BVLOS drone operations – the ones we can’t get rid of?
While regulations will differ from country to country and region to region, we can use the rules set out by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as a guide to figure out what onboard hardware is likely to be essential for a BVLOS drone design.
Unmanned aviation in the United States is governed by the FAA’s Part 107 rules. Under normal circumstances, these rules dictate that drones must be flown within visual line of sight. However, waivers can be granted that allow drone operators to deviate from this rule and perform BVLOS operations. Applications for this waiver must be accompanied by a robust and extremely thorough safety case, proving that the platform and its operations will not endanger aircraft, people or property.
The safety case needs to highlight the drone platform’s solutions – which may involve essential hardware components – to a number of issues.
Provide visibility at all times
BVLOS drones need to continually provide real-time information on their drone ID, location and altitude, velocity, time mark, direction of flight and emergency status, both to their operators and to other aircraft sharing the same airspace. In the future, unmanned traffic management (UTM) frameworks and solutions are also likely to require this information.
In order to provide accurate information on these parameters, the drone must have an onboard GPS receiver and barometric sensor. There is currently no single standard for the broadcasting of this information, but current technologies include ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast) and FLARM. A transmitter that is compliant with one or more of these methods is therefore also an essential onboard component.
Detecting cooperative aircraft
Many of the use cases for BVLOS drones will require them to operate within the same airspace as other aircraft, both manned and unmanned. Many of these aircraft will be broadcasting location and trajectory information as highlighted in the previous section. A device such as an ADS-B In receiver will allow your drone to maintain visibility of all cooperative aircraft in the surrounding area.
What about non-cooperative aircraft, and other hazards?
In the course of its mission, a BVLOS drone is likely to encounter aircraft that do not broadcast essential tracking information. It will also definitely encounter other obstacles such as buildings, powerlines, trees, and other terrain features. The drone must have a reliable solution for detecting all of these and taking evasive action as required.
Once again, there is no single solution for detect and avoid (DAA), but technologies include onboard arrays of radar, acoustic, or visual camera sensors. The solution you choose will depend on the SWaP budget of your aircraft, but to satisfy FAA requirements it must have a range of at least three miles, with a 360-degree field of view around the aircraft.
The last line of defense
Should the unthinkable happen and control over your drone is lost, a reliable drone parachute system will help mitigate the risk of injury to people below as well as damage to property. The parachute will also increase your chances of recovering the aircraft and its payloads intact. ASTM International has released a standard (ASTM F3322-18) for UAV parachutes, and a system with certification under this standard will be a worthwhile addition to your safety case, particularly for operations over people.
Reliable command, control and communications
A strong, reliable command and control (C2) link is a must for safe BVLOS operations. While the DAA system can help mitigate risk in the event of a C2 link outage, operators still need to be able to maintain full control over the drone for as much of the mission time as possible, and also need to be alerted right away if damage or equipment malfunction has occurred.
As detailed in previous instalments of this article, a robust communications link is also required in order to take advantage of cloud computing services and offload task processing in order to reduce power drain and lower your SWaP footprint.
Elsight’s Halo platform provides an all-in-one solution to all your BVLOS command, control and communications needs. Aggregating multiple IP links from all available protocols and networks, it features the ability to use both cellular and RF communication options separately or in parallel, allowing you to choose link priority according to your requirements.
Halo’s operator-agnostic hardware features a small form factor, light weight and a power consumption of less than half that of an average kitchen lightbulb. With a single device covering everything you need, Halo provides the ultimate in SWaP savings for onboard communications as well as the best chance for satisfying regulators.
With extensive experience in serving the drone industry and meeting certification requirements, Elsight can help you design a commercial BVLOS drone platform that will enable you to scale your business without breaking the SWaP bank.
Drone Source EP. 2: Interview with George Kirov of Dynamic Strategies & Concepts
On the May 6th, 2021 edition of Drone Source, host Asaf Raz spoke with George Kirov, the Managing Director of Dynamic Strategies & Concepts and…Learn More
Drone Source Ep. 1: Interview with Yoav Amitai of Elsight – Connectivity, BVLOS, Regulation, Scale & Growth
On the February 13th, 2021 episode of Drone Source, host Asaf Raz spoke with Yoav Amitai, Chief Executive Officer for Elsight. Prior to his work…Learn More
The Future of Connectivity: Scaling BVLOS UAV Operations
The global beyond-line-of-sight (BVLOS) unmanned-aerial-vehicle (UAV) market worth $18.87 billion in 2018 is projected to climb to a value of $34 billion by 2029. This…Learn More
Expanding boundaries with BVLOS mapping and surveying
Expanding boundaries with BVLOS mapping and surveying The geospatial industry has been one of the most widespread and enthusiastic adopters of drone technology. When you…Learn More
BVLOS SWaP Mini-Guide: Part 2 – Take advantage of cloud computing
In Part 1 of this article, we revealed that modern connectivity technologies have the potential to unlock and revolutionize Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS)…Learn More
BVLOS SWaP Mini-Guide: Part 1 – balancing between payload and airtime
It’s time to dominate the BVLOS market As the drone industry moves closer to widespread Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) adoption, a whole new set…Learn More
Scaling commercial BVLOS drone delivery – Is it all about UAV regulation?
Paving the way for Commercial-scale BVLOS drone deliveries It sounds like the ultimate in modern convenience, a science-fiction concept come to life – BVLOS…Learn More
Part 3: The $45 Billion Dollar commercial UAV BVLOS solution
Part 3: The $45 Billion Dollar commercial UAV BVLOS solution …if your Connectivity solution can pass Regulatory approval The commercial UAV BVLOS solution……Learn More
Realizing profitability with BVLOS UAV precision agriculture
Realizing profitability with BVLOS UAV precision agriculture As an alternative to expensive manned aviation or limited ground-based observation, drones have the potential of realizing…Learn More
Part 2: The $45 Billion Dollar commercial UAV BVLOS challenge
Part 2: The $45 Billion Dollar commercial UAV BVLOS challenge …if your Connectivity solution can pass Regulatory approval The commercial UAV BVLOS challenge……Learn More
Case Study: Gadfin Aerologistics systems - A success story
Learn more about how Elsight's drone enabling technology helped Gadfin achieve their business goalsDownload now
Data Sheet: Halo BVLOS Drone Technology
Connect - Beyond the line of sight, Get Certified, and ScaleDownload now
Ebook: BVLOS across the drone industry
The most informative BVLOS vertical ebook that will help you go from limited LOS to exponential business growthDownload now
Guidebook: The Ultimate Guide for Drone Connectivity 2021
All the secrets you need to know about drone connectivity for any kind of operationsDownload now
Data Sheet: Halo Makes Agriculture Smart
Connecting farmers to the field,
On-Demand Webinar: Scaling BVLOS UAV operations
Learn about Scaling BVLOS autonomous UAV operations - The new era of UASDownload now