Harris to Develop First US Beyond-Visual-Line-Of-Sight Network for Drones

Harris Corporation has received a two-year grant to help develop a first-of-its-kind solution to enable beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) operations for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Representatives from Harris and the University of North Dakota announced a partnership agreement to create the first UAS network in the nation to provide a full range of aviation-grade services for safe and efficient UAS BVLOS operations.

Harris will partner with the University of North Dakota and the Northern Plains UAS Test Site to develop the network infrastructure system under a Research grant awarded by the North Dakota Centers of Excellence Commission. The grant includes the development of aviation-grade network services specifically for UAS operations. It is a continuation of a previous grant that included development and a risk and safety assessment of UAS detect-and-avoid technology. The UAS BVLOS network will be developed within the Grand Forks-to-Fargo corridor.

Harris is working to create regional infrastructure that is scalable to the whole state of North Dakota, and eventually to the entire U.S. Developing this high-performance networked infrastructure will help accelerate regulatory approval of BVLOS UAS operations. It is looking to partner with end users, such as railroads and electric utility companies in the area, to create UAS test scenarios. As the project continues, Harris expects to test new scenarios including railway inspection, roadway inspection, transmission line inspection, precision agriculture, public safety and emergency services, expanded flight operations, and more.

Harris conducted a UAS flight demonstration during Harris’ Tech Expo which was held from February 27 to March 3 in Melbourne.