North Carolina is among a handful of states pioneering air transportation’s next frontier – unmanned aviation – in the Federal Aviation Administration’s BEYOND
Drones, also referred to as unmanned aviation systems, are delivering retail items, life-saving medicines, vaccines, and conducting bridge inspections under the nation’s first FAA waiver for beyond visual line of site operations.
Launched in October 2020, BEYOND is a follow up to FAA’s three‐year Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program, in which the N.C. Department of Transportation played a leading role and posted many national firsts. These firsts included North Carolina’s first coordinated drone response to a disaster, launch of the first U.S. flights to deliver products for pay and the nation’s first and still-only permitting system for commercial and government drone operators.
BEYOND seeks to tackle the remaining challenges of drone integration with:
- Beyond Visual Line of Sight operations that are repeatable, scalable and economically viable with specific emphasis on infrastructure inspection, public operations and small package delivery.
- Industry operations that better analyze and quantify the societal and economic benefits of UAS operation.
- Community engagement that collects, analyzes and addresses community concerns.
The NCDOT UAS Program seeks partners interested in collaborating with NCDOT to test and prove operations that can gain FAA approvals to expand Beyond Visual Line of Sight and other complex operations in the state.