courtesy: ZMI

Drone manufacturer ZM Interactive recently picked Iris Automation as the detect-and-avoid provider. The deal will empower ZMI customers to conduct beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations.

ZMI manufactures the xFold drone – an industrial, military-grade drone system that ships in various sizes and configurations. The frame can change rotor configurations among four, six, eight or 12 rotors.

The drone model sports heavy payload capability of more than 300 pounds, “making the UAS ideal for a wide range of commercial, industrial, military and emergency response applications,” according to a company press release. Case uses include aerial cinematography, 3-D mapping and inspections, and cargo delivery.

Using the IRIS platform, ZMI will provide the option of equipping its drone platforms with Iris Automation’s Casia system. Described as a “turnkey solution,” Casia detects, tracks and classifies other aircraft and makes informed decisions about the threat they could potentially pose to the UAS. To avoid collisions, Casia triggers automated maneuvers, and alerts the pilot in command of the mission.

“This collaboration between Iris Automation and ZMI allows xFold drone customers to use their drones to their full potential,” explains Iris Automation CEO Alexander Harmsen.

“Having drones pre-equipped with the option for advanced BVLOS capabilities is a basic requirement the industry will soon expect to see on all drones out-of-the-box.”

Under its partnership with ZMI, Iris says that it will also offer customers with Casia onboard regulatory support for Part 107 waiver writing and regulatory approval processes to secure the permissions needed to conduct their unique BVLOS operations.

Last year, the Kansas Department of Transportation’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program successfully completed the first BVLOS drone operation using the IRIS system.

The flight marked the first time under Part 107 the FAA authorized an operation to fly BVLOS without a requirement for visual observers or a ground-based radar.

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