Elsight provides BVLOS technology and communications required to operate unmanned vehicles beyond visual line of sight

What is BVLOS?

BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) refers to the operation of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) at distances where the
pilot is no longer able to observe the aircraft with the naked eye. It can be considered as the third and final range of
drone operations.

The first range is VLOS (visual line of sight), where the aircraft is always directly visible to the pilot. The second is
EVLOS (extended visual line of sight), which enhances the range of drone operations by using one or more trained
observers to ensure that the drone is always in the direct sight of a human being.

While EVLOS provides an improvement over standard VLOS, it will eventually be limited by the practicality and
logistics of chaining together the observation abilities of a number of people over large distances.

Visual line of sight Extended line of sight Beyond the visual line of sight

Why go BVLOS?

VLOS operations typically limit the distance that the drone can travel from the pilot to around 500m (and in many jurisdictions,
500m is coded into regulations as a maximum allowable distance). This means that if a pilot wishes to extend their mission
beyond this range, they will have to pack up their drone and equipment and redeploy to a new location in order to work in another
area with only a 500 m radius.

This continual redeployment translates into vast amounts of inefficiency and wasted time and ultimately is not at all practical for
many commercial drone use cases, such as package delivery and large-scale mapping and surveying.

In order to unlock the true economic potential of commercial drone operations at scale, drone flights must shift to beyond visual line of sight. This
will allow drones to achieve more in a single flight, and will ultimately allow operators to expand from limited numbers of piloted
drone missions to long-distance fully autonomous drone fleets, providing maximum cost-effectiveness.

Go BVLOS with Elsight

Common BVLOS challenges and how to overcome them
The essentials of BVLOS


Without the watchful eyes of a pilot or other human observers within visual range, a BVLOS
drone platform requires extra solutions that will allow it to avoid collisions with both fixed
obstacles and other flying aircraft. While FPV (first-person view) equipment can be used to
transmit a live camera feed of the surrounding area back to an operator, this option
provides limited depth perception and peripheral vision. More sophisticated technologies
include fully automated detect-and-avoid solutions such as Iris Automation’s Casia, which
combines an array of cameras with state-of-the-art computer vision and machine learning.

A remote identification solution such as ADS-B (Automatic Dependence Surveillance and
Broadcast) may also be required in order to provide real-time position and speed updates
to ATC (air traffic control) and UTM (unmanned traffic management) centres. Remote
identification also allows law enforcement and other agencies to locate drone operators in
case of an emergency.

One of the most essential safety aspects is the ability to maintain communication
and control of your drone at all times. The BVLOS connectivity section below provides more
information on the requirements for a robust communications and data link.

Low-SWaP design

With the extra subsystems required for BVLOS drone platforms, designing to a SWaP (size,
weight and power) budget can be challenging. This design challenge is compounded by
the fact that many BVLOS drones will now be expected to fly further and for longer.

In order to save SWaP capacity on a new BVLOS drone design, developers may be able to
offload some of the work usually performed by onboard systems to an external cloud
service. Features that can benefit from cloud services include power-hungry image and
sensor data processing, and tasks that involve artificial intelligence or machine learning.

Regulatory approval

Once your drone design has been finalised, the next hurdle along your path to BVLOS
operation is gaining approval from your jurisdiction’s aviation authority.

In many jurisdictions around the world, BVLOS operations are limited by strict regulations,
and gaining approval is currently a highly involved process. The United States Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA), for example, turns down more than 99% of requests for the
Part 107 rules waivers that would permit a drone operator to fly BVLOS.

Aviation regulation bodies are famously strict when it comes to safety, and even more so
when it comes to the relatively immature drone industry. The key to successful FAA BVLOS
approval lies in presenting a thorough and convincing safety case for your drone platform.
Applications will need to consider in detail how control of the drone will be maintained at all
times, how potential collisions will be detected and avoided, and what risk mitigation plans
are in place in case of an emergency.

Regulators place a significant emphasis on robust command and control systems when it
comes to approving BVLOS drone operations. A successful application will require a proven
communications system with close to 100% uptime.

Elsight's BVLOS Connectivity

Ultra-reliable connectivity is of the utmost importance in both urban areas, where failure carries a high risk of injury and property
damage, and rural and remote areas, where communications networks may be sparse or may change often.

A BVLOS drone connectivity solution must be able to deal with multiple communications options and environments and deliver
close to 100% uptime in order to ensure maximum safety and allow the drone to carry out its mission at all times without loss of
data transmission.

Radio-frequency connectivity can be easily jammed or hijacked and suffers from range and line-of-sight issues that make it less
than ideal as a sole BVLOS connectivity solution. Satellite has excellent range, with wide coverage and excellent uptime, but has
latency issues and is comparatively expensive.

Cellular connectivity provides the necessary bandwidth, and the costs are non-prohibitive for drone operators. The one potential
downside is reliability issues associated with cellular provider low-connectivity zones or dead spots. This can be solved by
leveraging a multi-SIM solution that is linked to multiple cellular providers

Elsight’s Halo drone connectivity solution combines multiple flexible communication links with advanced bonding algorithms to
provide a modular, multi-network, agnostic communication solution that is ideal for BVLOS flights. It checks for
compromised channels arising from communications “dead zones”, and automatically reroutes to the most suitable channel for the needs of the mission.

This state-of-the-art connectivity solution provides a high degree of reliability and safety, boosting your chances of obtaining
regulatory certification for commercial beyond visual line of sight drone operations.

Learn more
Smart Start with the Halo
Smart Start - personalized onboarding
Expedited POC process
Flexible, growth based aggrements & volume discounts
Increased BVLOS capabilities
BVLOS regulation fast track & assistance
Fully enabled autonomy / semi autonomy
Profitability enhancement
Success assurance - Dedicated support team

Related Resources

Guidebook - BVLOS SWaP Guide

All you need to know about drone SWaP tradeoffs - It's time to get your drone ready for BVLOS with the optimal size, weight and power balance

Download now
Ebook: BVLOS across the drone industry

The most informative BVLOS vertical ebook that will help you go from limited LOS to exponential business growth

Download now
On-Demand Webinar: Scaling BVLOS UAV operations

Learn about Scaling BVLOS autonomous UAV operations - The new era of UAS

Watch now


Frequently Asked Questions

What are beyond visual line of sight drones?

Beyond Visual Line of Sight (or BVLOS) drones are drones which are operated, as their name suggests, outside the line of sight limits of the drone operator. At this range, the pilot or operator has no visual reference to the drone being operated.

Can you operate your drone outside of your line of sight vision?

Yes. Using Elsight’s Halo, you can operate your drone well outside VLOS and EVLOS ranges. Halo provides you with complete connection confidence to ensure you have total command and control over your drone

What type of technology is required for beyond visual line of sight flight?

BVLOS flight requires two main technological elements. The first is a command and control (C2) element, which allows you to pilot the drone and “See” where the drone is at all times, and control it. The second is a communication solution, like Elsight’s Halo, which ensures that you will never lose control of the drone you are operating.

Until what point the pilot/operator still has a visual reference to the BVLOS drone?

Visual Line Of Sight (or VLOS), is approximately 500 meters from the pilot/operator. Extended Visual Line Of Sight (EVLOS), is the range from above 500 meters to the distance at which the UAV is still within the pilot’s sight

Let’s Connect
Let’s Connect
Drop us a line
Book a discovery call
Download Resource

Become a Partner

Become an Elsight Shareholder