Currently, drone flights beyond the visual line of sight of the operator (BVLOS) requires permission from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and can only occur in specific, restricted cases. However, new guidelines published by the CAA, propose relaxing those rules to support the construction industry and change the way drone flights are used. This will allow long-distance aerial surveys of infrastructure such as powerlines or highway construction.
Normalising BVLOS will continue to push the UK forward as a world-leader in aviation innovation and technology. The guidelines detail how future BVLOS operations can be achieved through testing and technology development. They set out the need for the regulator and innovators to build, test, learn and repeat in partnership in small steps to work toward the vision of safe BVLOs operations becoming business as usual in the UK.
David Tait, acting head of the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s Innovation Team has commented:
“Enabling everyday drone flying beyond visual line of sight is a game-changer, providing the opportunity for unmanned vehicles to monitor critical infrastructure, make deliveries and support our daily lives in an efficient and environmentally friendly way. We are now working closely with some of the world’s leading innovators to make these amazing possibilities a reality.”
What Other Industries Could BVLOS Operations Support?
Allowing BVLOS operations in the UK could bring huge benefits, not just to the construction industry, including the below:
- Drone parcel delivery from a distribution centre to a customer
- Long-distance aerial surveys of infrastructure such as power lines or highway construction
- Surveillance at the scene of an accident or incident operated from an external control centre
- Street mapping a whole city with optical and acoustic sensors
Coverdrone Supporting BVLOS Flights
It is great to see that BVLOS operations are becoming more accepted within the UK, and we are fully set to support this type of operation with our insurance product. However, if you are conducting a BVLOS flight, you will need to make us aware of this as it is not a standard feature of your cover. If you would like to discuss this further with us, please contact a member of our team.