U.S. Department of Transportation Announces BEYOND Program
The U.S. Department of Transportation ( DOT) announces that the BEYOND program will continue where Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs) Integration Pilot Program (IPP) ends (October 25, 2020), which involves programs, partnerships and opportunities.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is addressing the remaining challenges of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs) integration through a new program called “BEYOND.”
These challenges are the following:
- “Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations that are repeatable, scalable and economically viable with specific emphasis on infrastructure inspection, public operations and small package delivery.
- Leveraging industry operations to better analyze and quantify the societal and economic benefits of UAS operations.
- Focusing on community engagement efforts to collect, analyze and address community concerns.”*
The Integration Pilot Program (IPP) has created a meaningful dialogue between local and national interests related to drone integration, and provides actionable information to the U.S. DOT program on expanded and universal integration of drones into the National Airspace System.
According to a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announcement: “The nine state, local and tribal governments that participated in the program have signed new agreements with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to continue to tackle remaining UAS integration challenges.”*
Former U.S. Transportation Secretary, Elaine L. Chao, stated: “The three years of information gathered under the drone Integration Pilot Program will be applied to a new initiative called BEYOND, which will further advance the safe integration of drones into our national space.”*
Michael Kratsios, U.S. Chief Technology Officer, explained:
“The IPP propelled the American drone industry forward, allowing for unprecedented expansions in testing and operations through innovative private-public partnerships across the country. Now, the BEYOND program will build upon this success, tackling the next big challenges facing drone integration. The Trump Administration remains committed to the safe and innovative development of drone technologies for the benefit of the American people.”*
FAA Administrator, Steve Dickson, added:
“At the onset of the public health emergency, many of the IPP participants were able to pivot from their original missions to support the COVID-19 response and recovery, demonstrating the increasing value of drone operations in this new environment.”*
Eight of the nine participants selected for IPP will participate in BEYOND, including:
- Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
- Innovation and Entrepreneurship Investment Authority of Virginia
- Kansas Department of Transportation
- Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority
- North Carolina Department of Transportation
- North Dakota Department of Transportation
- City of Reno, Nevada
- University of Alaska-Fairbanks”*
Among other programs, the IPP advanced drone delivery forward and flight beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) is listed as one of the primary objectives of the BEYOND program as the next phase:
“Leveraging industry operations to better analyze and quantify the societal and economic benefits of UAS operations.
Their website also includes another goal: “Focusing on community engagement efforts to collect, analyze and address community concerns.”*
The BEYOND program, which began on October 26, 2020, will continue the partnerships with eight of the nine IPP participants. It will focus attention on the following:
- Operating under established rules rather than waivers.
- Collecting data to develop performance-based standards.
- Collecting and addressing community feedback.
- Seeking to understand the societal and community benefits.
- Streamline the approval processes for UAS integration.*
It is fortunate that, with the closure of the Integration Pilot Program (IPP), a new initiative, called “BEYOND,” is advancing the safe integration of drones into our national space.
he IPP advanced drone delivery forward and flight beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), continues to be listed as primary objectives of the BEYOND program as the next phase in drone development.
Two more goals listed on their website are: 1) leveraging industry operations to better analyze and quantify the societal and economic benefits of UAS operations, and 2) Focusing on community engagement efforts to collect, analyze and address community concerns.