Following approval from the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI), Airobotics is claiming the first worldwide authorization to fly fully automated drones without a pilot.
With its completely autonomous system, Airobotics says the drone enables industrial companies to leverage the technology without the need for a human operator (e.g., for long-range infrastructure inspections).
The platform comprises three parts: Optimus, a large, high-capacity drone capable of flying 30-minute missions while carrying a one-kilogram, mission-specific payload; Airbase, a completely automated base station from which the Optimus drone launches and lands on its own without any human intervention; and software that enables users to control and manage missions with one click.
For two years, Airobotics says it went through rigorous field-testing and product-verification processes, inspected by CAAI, in order to prove the system’s safety case.
After accumulating over 10,000 flight hours and producing dozens of technical manuals, engineering books, reports and analyses, Airobotics passed all necessary tests and received the certification. The certification process started with an Alpha version in March 2015, progressed to a Beta version on August 2015 and went through to minimum viable product last year.
Airobotics’ drone system is operated beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS). The company’s first tests took place for Israel Chemicals and Intel in Israel. Based on the experience Airobotics has gained in Israel, the company is scaling its operations to additional markets, starting with Australia and the U.S.
Airobotics recently announced its first customer in Australia: mining company South32. Airobotics already has a commercial drone license from the country’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority, as well as Federal Aviation Administration approval in the U.S.
“This newly granted certification is our next-generation milestone that completely takes the human drone pilot out of the equation in BVLOS operations,” says Ran Krauss, co-founder and CEO of Airobotics. “We predict this certification milestone will revolutionize the global market landscape and pave the way for future applications of automated drones.”