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.”

Related Articles

Skyward’s airspace intelligence
Before a pilot can operate a drone in the field, they need to make sure their operations will be safe. Skyward’s airspace intelligence gives pilots more situational awareness than they would otherwise have, helping reduce risk and minimize unforeseen snags while in the field.
There’s no way around it—infrastructure inspection is as risky and dangerous as it is vital. According to OSHA, sending workers up towers or on top…
September 16, 2019
Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota recently announced the state's $33 million investment in the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) industry, in…
May 06, 2019
In September 2016, Michael Baker International performed a routine and hands-on fracture-critical inspection of the Daniel Carter Beard (Big Mac)…
May 03, 2019
Back in the September 2015 issue, Roads & Bridges examined the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, unmanned aerial systems [UAS] or “drones”)…
April 01, 2019