Has COVID-19 Accelerated Drone Delivery Flights in Israel?

Has COVID-19 Accelerated Drone Delivery Flights in Israel?

drone delivery

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For the first time: BVLOS Multi-Drone Test Flight Authorized by Israel’s Civil Aviation Authority 

Within the framework of preparations for drone flights for various missions in the urban airspace, Simplex Interactive has completed a first-of-its-kind test, flying several drones by a single operator. The test was authorized by the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel.

A first multi-drone test that is open to the public will also be held during the annual AUS&R 2020 Unmanned Systems and Robotics Conference and Exhibition on September 6. Traditionally organized by iHLS for the ninth year, this is one of the major events in this field in Israel. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a technological and conceptual quantum leap in the use of unmanned systems in the air and on the ground. Israel’s Ministry of Transport, through Ayalon Highway company, has also started to boost the drone field, publishing two new tenders for discovering technologies in this field.

According to iHLS, it is already obvious that the companies that will take part in this year’s Conference will showcase a genuine breakthrough in a field that has been gaining more and more momentum in Israel and globally.

Simplex Interactive is the first company in Israel granted with the authorization of the Civil Aviation Authority to test-fly a group of drones which includes four aircraft and only one operator, without the requirement of visual line of sight between the operator and the aircraft.

This week, the company has even received an announcement that it has won the tender of Ayalon Highway, Israel Innovation Authority, and the Civil Aviation Authority, published following the coronavirus pandemic, inviting companies to demonstrate their capabilities in the operation of drones beyond operator’s visual line of sight, for the delivery of medical supplies in urban environments. The tests are expected to start soon.

Simplex has developed a first-of-its-kind command and control system, which through an airborne “mission computer” can turn a non-smart drone into an autonomous drone that can fly from a defined location, fly within defined restrictions and  land autonomously. The drone does not depend on communications in order to take decisions and reach its destination, therefore it can also overcome communication and GPS jamming.

The smart control system can accept various restrictions and constraints, e.g. ban on flying over populated areas and population concentrations, and can create an optimal flight course in accordance with the restrictions, such as flying over highways or open areas.

As said, this is a first-of-its-kind authorization in Israel and also a world breakthrough. Current regulations require an operator for each drone and a line of sight between the operator and the aircraft. This is one of the sources of the difficulty to launch drone delivery services in Israel and around the world.

Shay Levy, the CEO of Simplex Interactive, said: “The technology that we have demonstrated is a genuine breakthrough in drone flights in Israel. The authorization granted by the Civil Aviation Authority will enable us to carry out field testing and prove that it is possible to use drones in the urban setting for various missions in an efficient and safe manner.”

Ofer Haruvi, former Head of UAV Department, Israel Air Force, VP Business Development at Simplex, and the Chairman of iHLS’ AUS&R Unmanned Systems Conference, pointed out that the coronavirus crisis has accelerated drone maturation processes, both on the technological front and as well as on the regulative front.

For details on AUS&R 2020