Sphere Drones granted BVLOS area approval

Thursday, 23 May, 2024

Sphere Drones granted BVLOS area approval

Sphere Drones has announced that its flight operations team has been granted beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) area approval for its site near Wagga Wagga, NSW, by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

This significant regulatory milestone marks Sphere Drones’ first BVLOS area approval, allowing the business to demonstrate its BVLOS drone operations for customers while further testing and developing its innovative HubX platform. It also positions Sphere Drones to help accelerate commercial drone adoption by businesses across Australia, which is due to skyrocket to 60 million flights each year by 2043.

One of the most significant benefits of this approval is the ability for teams to conduct operations across the BVLOS area without the need for spotters or trained observers onsite, as required for extended visual line of sight (EVLOS)/visual line of sight (VLOS) operations. This is all made possible by HubX, which is an off-grid enabled, self-sustaining and rugged mobile drone platform.

In addition, it provides businesses from a broad range of industries — including mining, agribusiness, utilities, emergency services, construction and more — with a highly supported pathway to adopt BVLOS operations quickly, serving as a crucial stepping stone towards conducting complex BVLOS missions. Increased BVLOS operations will act as a conduit for broader use of commercial drones in surveying operations, providing businesses with substantial efficiency gains and cost savings.

“It’s a big step to obtain your first BVLOS approval, which includes extensive processes and procedures to prove safety and sufficiency in your technology solutions and redundancies,” said Elliot Cummins, Chief Remote Pilot of Sphere Drones. “It’s fantastic news for us as a business, our clients and the wider industry. We’re proud to have achieved this approval; it’s the first of many to come.”

In addition to operational advancements, the BVLOS approval paves the way for the development and deployment of HubX for an extended duration. This includes establishing a permanent demonstration site and completing comprehensive testing, showcasing the full capabilities of Sphere Drones’ technology and operational expertise.

The current BVLOS approval does not extend to remote operations centre (ROC) BVLOS operations. However, the Sphere Drones team are currently working towards incorporating a ROC into their BVLOS operations by the end of 2024.

Image caption: CASA inspector Nick Logan with Sphere Drones Solution Specialist Kyle Nebel and Chief Remote Pilot Elliot Cummins, with the HubX platform in the background.

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