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BYOI Won’t Get Us to BVLOS: How Shared-Use Infrastructure Enables High-Value Drone Use Cases

Imagine a scenario where long-haul trucking companies, mail couriers, public safety officials, such as police, firefighters, and EMS personnel, all had to build their own roads and transportation networks in order to deliver their services to the general public.

Similarly, imagine if it were the responsibility of each individual airline to commission and maintain navigation aids and build their own airports.

It sounds crazy! Requiring each participant in a transportation system to “bring your own infrastructure” (BYOI) isn’t scalable. Yet this is exactly what commercial UAS, or drone, operators face today if they want to conduct advanced drone operations such as BVLOS.

Without any shared-use infrastructure to connect drone flights to a common system, high-value drone use cases – think package deliveries, infrastructure inspections, search-and-rescue, precision agriculture – remain grounded. This is not only inhibiting the drone industry, but it’s also preventing communities from benefiting from industrial and commercial drone work.

The BYOI approach is failing the UAS industry in 3 ways: it’s slow, expensive, and inefficient.

Building BVLOS infrastructure is a multi-million-dollar investment that requires deep expertise in digital and physical, ground-based and airborne technologies. Moreover, it requires that drone operators become experts in airspace integration, which thwarts healthy competition and stalls industry growth. Finally, the BYOI model inhibits sharing of best practices and insights -- each and every drone operator starts from scratch, which is not only inefficient, it also creates safety risks due to a lack of standardization.

National, local, and regional authorities have a role to play in building a UAS network to support advanced, high-value drone use cases.

Reducing barriers to success and diversifying the state’s economy: focus on North Dakota

North Dakota is defining itself as the nation’s UAS epicenter and that’s true! The state invested in Vantis.

Vantis is a shared-use network of UAS-enabling technologies that makes it simple and economical to perform safe, repeatable, and scalable commercial UAS operations. It incorporates physical and virtual infrastructure that enables commercial drones to operate while ensuring the safety of the existing airspace operations.

The Vantis network has supported more than 125 UAS and 25 manned aircraft test flights during the developmental stage. As the system matures, Vantis will continue its expansion across the state.

Selecting the right partner to build nation’s first statewide BVLOS network

End of 2021, the state of North Dakota selected Thales as the long-term systems integrator for Vantis.

The Group has a rich legacy in deploying shared-use airspace infrastructure and holds industry-leading positions in fields such as cybersecurity, telecom, and digital identity and security. Two out of three aircraft take off, reach their destination, and land thank to Thales solutions. Its experts have deep expertise in air traffic management, avionics, and CNS technologies.

Thales’ teams have developed the BVLOS Blueprint to help national, regional, and local authorities architect solutions and commercialization models for advanced drone enablement. The BVLOS Blueprint outlines the steps that you can take to unlock the economic and social benefits of drones for your community.

Want to learn more about the Vantis network?