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After a multi-year audit, Transport Canada has granted Canadian UAVs the first commercial special flight operations certificate (SFOC) to fly beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) in unrestricted general aviation airspace. The authorization, a first in Canadian history, follows several years of enterprise level operations which includes maintenance procedures, safety management systems and detect and avoid technology called the Sparrowhawk Radar. The Transport Canada permit builds on Canadian UAVs’ previous performance milestones conducting the first BVLOS pipeline inspection at the Foremost UAS Test Range (2017), and the first research and development BVLOS SFOC in unrestricted airspace during the Transport Canada trials in 2018.
Over the past five years Canadian UAVs has pioneered and now validated its approach of ground based non-cooperative artificial intelligence enabled radar that ensures safe separation with traditional manned aviation. The Sparrowhawk software incorporates internationally accepted risk modelling and deconfliction pathways presented in either a stand-alone format or embedded directly into the ground control. The resulting presentation provides for complete situational and operational awareness.
Initially privately funded, the Canadian UAVs Sparrowhawk Radar was further advanced through the financial and technical support of the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and product development and demonstration grants from LookNorth. In addition to multiple capability demonstrations with Transport Canada, the Sparrowhawk Radar was tested as part of the Department of National Defence IDEaS program in 2019 at Suffield. Most recently, the radar was further refined and brought to market as part of a five-year Industrial Technological Benefit (ITB) investment from Peraton Canada.
Canadian UAVs has delivered on the multi-decade promise of unmanned systems by providing industrial institutions the much needed scalable, data driven fidelity for remote assets monitoring in real-time. The ability to fly unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) beyond visual line of sight significantly improves their effectiveness and potential. The increased range of BVLOS operations requires real-time airspace situational awareness for the UAV pilot and support crew which ensures safe and repeatable operations.