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How BVLOS Is Taking Drone Operations to the Next Level

Publish 20 February 2024

By: Maajidah


The drone industry has witnessed a significant transformation with the introduction of Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations. BVLOS refers to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) flying beyond the visual range of the operator. This capability allows drones to cover far greater distances, making it a game-changer for various industries. Here, we will explore what BVLOS is and how it benefits the drone industry.

What is BVLOS?

BVLOS enables drones to operate beyond the pilot's line of sight. Unlike Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) flights, where the operator can see the drone at all times, BVLOS flights rely on data transmitted through onboard instruments. These instruments provide information about the drone's position, altitude, speed, direction, and other relevant parameters. BVLOS flights allow drones to cover larger areas and perform more complex operations.

The Importance of BVLOS for the Drone Industry

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1. Increased Efficiency and Cost-effectiveness

One of the primary reasons BVLOS is important for the drone industry is its ability to increase efficiency and reduce costs. Drones flying BVLOS can cover more ground in a single flight, collecting a larger amount of data compared to VLOS operations. This means that fewer deployments are required to gather the same amount of information, resulting in significant time and cost savings. BVLOS flights also eliminate the need for traditional methods such as manned helicopters or aeroplanes, which can be expensive to operate.

2. Versatility and Wide Range of Applications

BVLOS capabilities open up a wide range of applications for drones. These include infrastructure inventory, monitoring large areas, creating orthophoto maps, and more. With BVLOS, drones can access remote or inaccessible areas that are difficult for ground crews to reach. This versatility allows drones to be used in various industries such as agriculture, defence, security, and environmental monitoring. BVLOS operations enable drones to perform tasks that were previously not possible.

3. Enhanced Data Collection and Analysis

Drones flying BVLOS can collect high-resolution data, providing more detailed and accurate information for analysis. This is particularly valuable in applications such as aerial surveying, mapping, and infrastructure inspection. The lower altitude of drone flights allows for improved data collection, especially in scenarios where fine control over timing is crucial.

4. Safety and Risk Mitigation

While safety is always a top priority in the drone industry, BVLOS operations can enhance safety and mitigate risks. In some cases, BVLOS flights can prevent people from being exposed to dangerous situations. Drones can access hazardous areas or areas that are outside the visual line of sight, reducing the risk to the drone operators. Additionally, BVLOS flights can help identify potential risks or issues in infrastructure, allowing for prompt intervention and maintenance to prevent accidents or additional damage.

5. Training and Certification

Theoretical and practical training is necessary to obtain a BVLOS rating allowing pilots to legally perform BVLOS flights. The training covers navigation, meteorology, flight performance, flight planning, and more. AutonoSky offers an in-depth BVLOS certification course that covers everything you will need for BVLOS operations. These additional capabilities of unmanned systems require pilots to be well-prepared and knowledgeable about operating drones BVLOS.

The Regulatory Landscape and Challenges

While BVLOS flights are already legal in some countries, such as the United States, obtaining a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is a challenging process. The regulatory landscape in the drone industry is evolving, and regulatory bodies are working to keep pace with the rapid advancements in drone technology. The cautious approach of regulatory bodies, such as the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), ensures airspace safety and minimises the risks associated with long-range flying.

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BVLOS operations have revolutionised the drone industry, offering enhanced efficiency, versatility, and safety. However, regulatory challenges persist, and obtaining waivers for BVLOS flights remains a hurdle. As the drone industry continues to evolve, regulatory bodies must strike a balance between innovation and safety to unlock the full potential of BVLOS operations.


Beyond Visual Line of Sight Drone Flight. Available at: https://www.precisionhawk.com/beyond-visual-line-of-sight-bvlos-drone-operations

Angel, K. (2023) Differences between VLOS, EVLOS and BVLOS, Jedsy. Available at: https://jedsy.com/blogs/news/differences-between-vlos-evlos-and-bvlos

Basali (2023) Understanding bvlos operations and the significance of robust connectivity, Understanding BVLOS Operations and the Significance of Robust Connectivity. Available at: https://www.flytbase.com/blog/bvlos-drone-operations

Bvlos FAA certification: Elements for Safe Operation (2023) elsight. Available at: https://www.elsight.com/blog/the-push-towards-uas-type-certification-and-how-this-affects-bvlos-drone-operations/

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