What is the BEYOND Program?
The BEYOND program, overseen by the U.S. Department of Transportation and administered by the Federal Aviation Administration, will advance the safe integration of drones into the national airspace by targeting three key challenges:
- Moving towards repeatable, scalable, and economically viable Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations for high-demand applications;
- Identifying and quantifying the economic and societal benefits of drone integration through analysis of real-world commercial operations;
- Understanding and addressing public concerns through robust, data-oriented community engagement.
The program, announced in October 2020, is slated to run for four years and will build on the success of the UAS Integration Pilot Program (IPP). The IPP provided a framework for state, local, and tribal governments to collaborate with companies and the regulator to facilitate more complex drone operations. It was responsible for unique new operations and generated data on both operational saftey and community sentiment that will form the basis for the next phase of drone integration under BEYOND.
The nine public-private teams which completed the IPP, including Virginia's, will continue their work in the BEYOND program.
The Virginia Team
Virginia's BEYOND team is led by the Commonwealth's Center for Innovative Technology (CIT); MAAP directs its operations. With commericial partners Wing, State Farm®, and Dominion Energy, MAAP and CIT are focused on enabling advanced drone operations in three key areas: package delivery, post-event damage assessment, and linear infrastructure inspection.
The team won a spot in the IPP in 2018 following a competitive selection process; their work during the program led to the first nationwide waiver for operations over people and beyond visual line of sight and the launch of the first residential drone-delivery service in the U.S.