top of page
  • Charl Jooste

MVT Geo-solutions first to gain approval for Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight Drone Flights in Canada

Updated: Sep 3, 2020

Casia 360. Image: Iris Automation

Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight or BVLOS is one of the hottest topics in the commercial drone industry. Although allowed in some areas, approval is still hard to come by. In a first for Canada, a joint partnership between MVT Geo-solutions and Iris Automation was granted a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC). This certificate, issued by Transport Canada, allows the partnership to perform BVLOS flights in the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Center of Excellence's controlled airspace Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) test range which is based in Alma, Quebec.

The BVLOS flights will make use of Casia, an integrated Detect-and-Avoid (DAA) system. This means that not only is there no line of sight but no radar or ground-based observers are needed. Casia is the first integrated DAA system with a 360-degree radial field of view.

This technology can be used in a range of important areas for commercial and humanitarian drone applications. These include package deliveries, mapping, planning, surveillance, agriculture, infrastructure inspection, and emergency response.

Alexander Harmsen, CEO at Iris Automation had the following to say: "Achieving the first BVLOS approval in Canada further validates our technology alongside multiple permissions we have already received from regulators in the U.S. and South Africa. This technology is critical to safely integrate drones into the airspace along with manned-aircraft, and we look forward to unlocking commercial operations for our customers in Canada.”

Iris Automation was founded in Canada and now has its headquarters in San Francisco. Their DAA systems allow drones to see in much the same way a pilot would. This is done through sophisticated computer-vision-based avoidance systems. The technology is affordable, scalable and highly effective computer-vision-based avoidance system.

William de Keiser, UAS Center of Excellence Director added the following: "The UAS Center of Excellence is looking forward to leveraging Iris Automation's industry-leading DAA system and existing flight expertise within our network to conduct BVLOS flights with MVT Geo-solutions. We will continue to develop our partnership with Iris Automation to provide training to local operators and enable BVLOS flights in Canada.”

These flights should start mid to late April 2020 and will pave the way for more advanced BVLOS flights and open doors for other companies or partnerships with quality software and systems. This will allow for complex commercial or humanitarian operations.

There are many advantages to these BVLOS operations. They allow for accurate data to be collected over large areas or collection and distribution of critical cargo in remote, possibly dangerous or hard to reach places. This can be done at a fraction of the cost of traditional air transport with greater speed and accuracy, and no risk to human life.

Safe and effective BVLOS flights using only advanced Detect-and-Avoid technology opens up many opportunities in the commercial drone world.


bottom of page