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Ondas Holdings Inc., a provider of private wireless data, drone and automated data solutions through its wholly owned subsidiaries, announced that American Robotics has added seven additional sites of operation approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its automated beyond visual line of site (BVLOS) drone technology, the Scout System.
As the first company approved by the FAA to operate automated drones without human operators on-site, American Robotics continues to build upon its industry position with a portfolio of 10 operational sites across eight U.S. states associated with current and expected customers. This approval represents another important step towards scalable autonomous operations within the commercial drone industry. American Robotics won an RBR50 Robotics Innovation Award in 2021 from our sister publication Robotics Business Review.
“American Robotics is excited to have seven additional sites of operation approved by the FAA. As we continue to build upon our offerings, we look forward to providing current and future customers with the tools needed to unlock scalable, autonomous drone operations that will help propel their businesses and critical industries forward,” said Reese Mozer, co-founder and CEO of American Robotics. “Not only is this a milestone for American Robotics, but it is also another signal that we have reached an inflection point in commercial drone operations in the United States, and American Robotics is proud to be at the forefront of these industry advancements.”
The latest approval from the FAA is a result of American Robotics’ proprietary safety technologies, such as automated system diagnostics, path planning, and aircraft avoidance. The seven new sites range from 0.1 square miles to 14 square miles and are located in North Dakota, Louisiana, New Mexico, Nevada, California, and South Carolina. All sites can now take advantage of autonomous drone capabilities with the Scout System.
American Robotics was acquired by Ondas Holdings in May 2021 for $70.6 million. Ondas is also acquiring Ardenna, a provider of image processing and machine learning software solutions for rail infrastructure monitoring and inspections. Ondas said American Robotics will leverage Ardenna’s Rail-Inspector advanced analytics software to accelerate growth within the rail industry. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2022.
“Every step by American Robotics toward full autonomy is significant: autonomous drones provide continuous, real-time information,” says David Boardman, CEO of Stockpile Reports. “With zero touch, high frequency automated data collection, the bulk materials supply chain will be transformed as we can provide answers to enable real-time decisions at any site. This approval is a critical turning point in addressing the market demand for continuous information.”
This achievement enables increased autonomous drone operations and benefits all of American Robotics’ customers, including Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Stockpile Reports. Autonomous drone operations are required to realize scalable drone operations for an estimated 90 percent of commercial drone use cases.
Without FAA approval, human pilots and visual observers are required to be present on-site, dramatically reducing the practicality, affordability, and viability of commercial drone use in critical industries, including oil and gas, rail and stockpiles and mining. The new sites were added to American Robotics’ existing waiver and exemption package, permitting automated BVLOS operations without human operators on-site. Flights are permitted under 400 feet within the operational area defined by each site.