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Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) Operations: Opportunities and Challenges in the Drone Industry

Sentaero BVLOS Fixed Wing VTOL
Sentaero BVLOS Fixed Wing VTOL | Credit: Censys Technologies

The growth of the drone industry has been fueled by advances in technology, which have increased their capabilities while reducing their costs. Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) is one of the most significant developments in the drone industry, and it refers to the ability of a drone to operate beyond the pilot's visual line of sight. In other words, a drone can fly autonomously, follow a pre-programmed flight path, and collect data or perform tasks without the pilot having to control the vehicle manually. BVLOS operations have enormous potential for various industries, but they also present significant challenges in terms of safety, regulations, and infrastructure.

Currently, people are using drones for a wide range of applications, including aerial photography, surveying, mapping, search and rescue, and delivery. However, most drone operations are limited to visual line of sight (VLOS), which restricts their range and effectiveness. BVLOS operations have the potential to revolutionize the drone industry by allowing drones to fly farther and cover more significant areas, leading to increased efficiency and productivity.

Censys Technologies is a company that provides drone services and technology solutions to various industries, including energy, transportation, and infrastructure. The company specializes in BVLOS operations and has recently achieved a significant milestone in the drone industry by securing its third BVLOS waiver. This waiver covers a 12-mile distance, which is the longest distance ever approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for BVLOS operations.

Challenges of BVLOS operations

  • Safety concerns due to limited visibility and potential obstacles such as other aircraft, buildings, or trees.

  • Regulatory compliance, as the FAA requires a special waiver for BVLOS operations, which involves demonstrating a detailed safety plan and a risk assessment.

  • Infrastructure requirements include a reliable communication system and an accurate navigation system.

Safety considerations for BVLOS operations

  • Reliable collision avoidance systems can be achieved by using sensors, GPS, and other technologies.

  • Redundant communication system to ensure the drone can still be controlled if one communication link fails.

  • Proper training and certification for pilots to operate drones in BVLOS operations.

Infrastructure is another challenge that must be addressed for BVLOS operations to become widespread. Drones flying BVLOS must have a reliable and robust communication system, which requires proper infrastructure such as cellular networks, satellite communication, and ground-based relays. Additionally, drones must have an accurate and reliable navigation system, which can be achieved by using GPS, GLONASS, or other satellite systems.

Women in the BVLOS Business

Lori DeMatteis is a renowned business leader known for her ability to rapidly grow and scale companies. In an executive podcast interview with host Wendy Erikson, Lori discussed the revolutionary technology of her company Iris Automation which is the first commercially available 360-degree radial computer vision Detect-and-Avoid system for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) called CASIA.

CASIA enables safe BVLOS operations, which significantly reduce costs and open new access to goods and data. With CASIA on board, a wide range of long-distance commercial applications are now a reality. Iris Automation has recorded over 16,000 live encounters, which is a testament to the technology's reliability and effectiveness in detecting and avoiding technology. Lori also covered the various applications of CASIA, from drones to manned aircraft. The technology's applications are endless, and it has the potential to revolutionize the way we transport goods and data. Find out how to get BVLOS approval on their website.

Lori DeMatteis
Lori DeMatteis | Credit: Womenanddrones

Now, as the Chief Revenue Officer of MatrixSpace, Lori DeMatteis continues to drive innovation and growth in the technology industry, with her expertise in scaling companies and groundbreaking solutions

Despite the challenges, BVLOS operations present enormous opportunities for the drone industry. They can revolutionize various industries by increasing efficiency, productivity, and safety. For example, BVLOS operations can be used for pipeline inspections, power line inspections, and precision agriculture. BVLOS drones can also be used for search and rescue operations, which can save lives and reduce the risk to emergency responders.


In conclusion, BVLOS operations are one of the most significant developments in the drone industry, with enormous potential for various applications. However, they also present significant challenges in terms of safety, regulations, and infrastructure. To ensure safe and efficient BVLOS operations, it is essential to have reliable collision avoidance systems, comply with regulations, and have the proper infrastructure in place. With the recent success of BVLOS flights, the future of the drone industry looks promising, and we can expect to see more BVLOS operations in the coming years.


Akshata is a writer based in Bengaluru, India. She is known for her deep passion for drones and her ability to overcome challenges in this rapidly-evolving industry. She has spent countless hours researching and experimenting with various drone models, honing her skills as a pilot and innovator. She continues to inspire others with her passion for innovation and her commitment to pushing the boundaries of what's possible with drone technology.

LinkedIn: @akshata Topmate: @akshata


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