Airobotics achieves significant safety milestone for autonomous drones

Airobotics has become the first company to receive approval from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) for operation of automated multi-rotor drones at sites in Australia without the need for an aircrew.

The approval from CASA, Australia’s premier aviation body, represents a vote of confidence for the Israeli drone company from a safety perspective.

It is the first such approval to be issued by the organisation in Australia, allowing Airobotics to operate its drones beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) from a remote operations centre (ROC) in Perth.

Airobotics is known for its fully autonomous drone, called Optimus, which can launch and land using a platform called Airbase without human intervention.

Mining is an important market for Airobotics as the drone can be used for tasks such as surveying, stocktaking, photogrammetry, LiDAR scans, haul road inspections and several other activities.

This opens up several safety benefits as it removes the need for site staff to enter potentially dangerous areas for inspection.

“This landmark approval is a major achievement for Airobotics and its future growth across Australia,” said Airobotics vice president of aviation and compliance, Niv Russo.

“Removing aircrews from potentially dangerous environments, like mines, enables customers to extract maximum value and reduce risk from their business operations by leveraging technology and automation.”

Airobotics’s first flight certification from an aviation body was from the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI) in March 2017.

In December last year, the company received a waiver from the United States’ Federation Aviation Authority (FAA) to allow for BVLOS flight operations over areas with “a limited number” of people.

The waiver also stated that a visual observer would not be required to keep visual line of sight on the drone.

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