The company’s technology equips drones to maintain a safe distance from other aircraft during their flight


With this approval, American Robotics is now able to operate its fully-automated drones without human operators on the ground. (Credit: Business Wire)

American Robotics has won approval from a US regulatory authority to fly automated drones without on-site human operators, who are usually deployed to keep an eye on airspace for safety.

The company has secured clearance from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its drone technology, Scout system, which eliminates the costly human requirement.

American Robotics has developed the Scout system incorporating advanced acoustic Detect-and-Avoid (DAA) technology to equip drones to be at a safe distance from other aircraft during their flight.

The FAA approval is seen as a major inflection point for the commercial drone industry, as the previous waivers and certifications awarded by the authority required the deployment of visual observers along the flight path.

Featuring technical and operational risk mitigations, the company’s drone-based aerial intelligence platform is designed to operate safely in the National Airspace System (NAS), when the drones are flown beyond Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight (BVLOS).

Scout system features AI-powered software

The Scout system consists of AI-powered software to provide enhanced levels of autonomy, safety, and analytics for the drones.

It is designed to capture and process data at increased resolutions, frequencies, and speeds.

According to American Robotics, a Scout drone lives within a weatherproof base station ScoutBase, which allows autonomous charging, data processing and data transmission.

All facets of Scout’s operation get automated once it is installed in a field, enabling the technology to gather and analyse ultra-high-resolution data multiple times per day for multiple years without expensive human labour.

To demonstrate the impact of Scout systems on industrial and agricultural industries, American Robotics worked with multiple organisations across eight states in the US over a four-year testing programme.

Growmark agronomy marketing and technology director Lance Ruppert said: “Our interest in American Robotics’ technology started with the desire to have a drone imagery solution that was reliable, scalable, and executed with minimal human resources.

“This technology, along with the FAA approvals to operate it without humans on the ground, is key to making drones a widespread reality in our industry. This is a game changer.”