Kansas DOT teams with Iris Automation on drone test flight program

The partnership will focus on enabling detect and avoid capabilities for drones

November 06, 2018
Kansas DOT teams with Iris Automation on drone test flight program
Kansas DOT teams with Iris Automation on drone test flight program

The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), in coordination with Flights by Iris Automation, has entered the testing phase of a program aimed at enabling new detect and avoid capabilities for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).


The Integration Pilot Program was implemented by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through a Presidential Memorandum. KDOT was selected as one of 10 government organizations to test how drones can fly safely over people, at night and beyond visual line of sight, which will open new uses with industries for drones in the future, notably road and bridge construction. These tests are designed to help the FAA develop regulations for these activities.


The focus of the testing is Iris’s collision avoidance technology, which uses computer vision and artificial intelligence to allow UAVs to enabling sight beyond the visual line of sight. The test flights will take place over the course of one week over farmlands. The technology uses a camera, processor and computer vision software to see the airspace around the drone in real-time, enabling collision avoidance. The software classifies and tracks moving objects and identifies their speed and direction in relation to the drone it is attached to.


“The flights we will conduct are a crucial part of the overarching strategy to further UAS representation as an important economic contributor for Kansas,” Bob Brock, KDOT Director of Aviation, told SAJ. “We’re excited to continue our partnership with Iris Automation and our other IPP team members as we look forward into the future.”


“At Iris Automation, our cutting-edge technology is unlocking the potential of drones by enabling them to fly beyond visual line of sight,” added Alexander Harmsen, Chief Executive of Iris Automation. “I am delighted to be putting it to the test with Kansas Department of Transportation.”