Vantis Network Achieves Industry Milestone with FAA Approval for BVLOS
The part 91.113 exemption is essentially a rulemaking that builds on the FAA’s initial part 107 waiver approval granted to uAvionix earlier this year. While a waiver is essentially a one-off, approval under an exemption provides for repeatability – an exemption can be referenced for future approvals, which accelerates the path to recurring BVLOS flights for the drone industry at large.
This exemption is unique from other FAA exemption approvals in two ways: it is a request for infrastructure approval with Vantis services providing key risk mitigation capabilities; and FAA acknowledges that Vantis can be replicated elsewhere in North Dakota and the United States to streamline waiver and exemption approvals for the drone industry.
This proves that common-use infrastructure and services can fast-track BVLOS operations in North Dakota and other geographies.
A PROVEN & EXPEDITED PATHWAY TO FAA EXEMPTION
Vantis is the first and only system to receive approval through the FAA's Near-Term Approval Process (NTAP). This recognition underlines Vantis's advanced capabilities, its robust safety features, and its alignment with the FAA's stringent criteria to ensure efficient drone operations up to 400 feet. For UAS professionals, this means enhanced reliability, quicker approval pathways, and the advantage of safety credits.
"It is the FAA's goal to template exemptions so that approvals will be streamlined for operators seeking to conduct similar operations at similar risk levels,” said Jeffrey Vincent, Executive Director for the FAA’s UAS Integration Office, said on stage at the Autonomous Nation event in Fargo, North Dakota. “In fact, last week, the FAA signed an MOU with North Dakota as part of the near-term approval process for the Vantis system, which serves as a third-party service provider for UTM in low-risk areas.“
MOVING THE NEEDLE ON POLICY, REGULATION
The Northern Plains UAS Test Site and Thales are working with FAA to prove-out UAS integration concepts that can apply more broadly to other states and the national airspace system (NAS). The NPUASTS remains a trusted advisor to FAA in guiding policy and regulation with Vantis as the gold standard in aviation-grade UAS integration solutions.
The Northern Plains UAS Test Site, a North Dakota state agency, has partnered with Thales to develop and implement Vantis. Vantis offers shared infrastructure for multiple users, which significantly lowers the barrier of entry for commercial and military UAS flights, including BVLOS.
Today, Vantis supports a variety of drone use cases. For example, Vantis accelerated disaster recovery after winter storms left many North Dakota citizens without power. Drones performed VLOS and BVLOS flights to aid locate damage, assess utility infrastructure, and prioritize repairs in storm-affected rural areas. Vantis is now preparing for spring floods, monitoring flood levels, and supporting emergency responders- strengthening the state's emergency response efforts.
More commercial use testing is ongoing. Vantis plays a pivotal role in testing and validating commercial use cases, including perimeter security solutions, inspections, in collaboration with Asylon, iSight, and Workhorse, American Aerospace Technologies Inc.