Percepto, a drone-powered autonomous inspection and monitoring system provider, announced an exemption denial from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This denial allows Percepto to operate uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS) beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) without humans onsite.
The FAA’s denial eliminates the exemption process, which could take years, that has been required to enable remote pre-flight check under Part 107. Previously, to operate a UAS BVLOS without humans onsite, the FAA has required:
- A Part 107 waiver approval
- An exemption to 14 CFR Section 107.15, which includes conditions for safe operation
- An exemption to 14 CFR Section 107.49, which includes preflight familiarization, inspection and actions for aircraft operation
Percepto received one of these individual exemptions in January 2022, when its customer, Delek US Holdings, received approval for BLVOS flights in its refineries in Tyler, Texas and El Dorado, Arkansas. Now, the company won’t have to seek out approval for individual customers to perform BVLOS flights.
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“Percepto is very grateful to the FAA staff for their engagement and consideration of our CONOPS and technical information to reach this groundbreaking result for Percepto and the broader UAS industry,” said Neta Gliksman, Percepto VP of Policy and Government Affairs. “In these circumstances, we are thrilled with an exemption denial. We look forward to continuing to work with the FAA as we bring the significant benefits of scalable BVLOS UAS operations to the US critical infrastructure industry.”
Percepto gained the denial by demonstrating to the FAA that its pre-flight inspection went above and beyond the FAA’s Part 107 requirements, proving the company didn’t require an exemption for operation.
The company’s procedures include a UAS inspection with cameras on and around the base, and images to confirm the safe deployment. It also worked to proactively engage with the FAA to address any questions the administration had.
“This decision’s implications for BVLOS UAS operations in the United States in the near term cannot be overstated,” said Lisa Ellman, Chair of the Global UAS Practice at Hogan Lovells and Outside Counsel to Percepto. “The FAA is opening the door to the industry for more streamlined and timely approvals for BVLOS UAS operations and the realization of their benefits for many societally beneficial use cases.”
Percepto has a history of working closely with regulators. In July 2021, the FAA added the company to its BVLOS Aviation Rulemaking Committee. Percepto is one of six autonomous drone manufacturers to join.