Streamlining the BVLOS Approval Process: Percepto’s Regulatory Milestone

BVLOS approvalPercepto Announces Achievement of Regulatory Milestone with Industry-Wide Benefits

by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby

Today, industry leader Percepto announced a first-of-its-kind exemption denial from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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The denial enables Percepto to operate Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (UAS) beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) without the presence of humans onsite, removing an exemption process that has previously been required to allow for remote pre-flight check under Part 107.

In the past, the FAA has required both a Part 107 waiver approval and an exemption to 14 CFR Sections 107.15 (condition for safe operation) and 107.49 (preflight familiarization, inspection, and actions for aircraft operation) in order to conduct UAS BVLOS operations without humans onsite. This process typically takes years to approve and is disproportionate to the risk involved. Notably, nothing in the text of Part 107 specifies that pre-flight inspections need take place in person.

Percepto proved to the FAA that its pre-flight inspection exceeded Part 107’s requirements and as such did not necessitate an exemption. The company’s inspection process features UAS inspection with cameras surrounding the base and images to verify safe deployment. Percepto communicated with the FAA to address its questions, surpassing the FAA’s expectations of pre-flight inspection processes. This milestone will serve to advance the industry as a whole, as Percepto seeks to streamline the applications and approval process for BVLOS UAS operations.

“Percepto is very grateful to the FAA staff for their engagement and consideration of our CONOPS and technical information to reach this groundbreaking result for Percepto and the broader UAS industry,” said Percepto VP of Policy and Government Affairs Neta Gliksman. “In these circumstances, we are thrilled with an exemption denial. We look forward to continuing to work with the FAA as we bring the significant benefits of scalable BVLOS UAS operations to the US critical infrastructure industry.”

“This decision’s implications for BVLOS UAS operations in the United States in the near-term cannot be overstated,” said Lisa Ellman, Chair of the Global UAS Practice at Hogan Lovells and Outside Counsel to Percepto. “The FAA is opening the door to the industry for more streamlined and timely approvals for BVLOS UAS operations and the realization of their benefits for many societally beneficial use cases.”

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Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.