In collaboration with Airobotics
In a groundbreaking development, Ondas Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: ONDS) and its drone manufacturer subsidiary, Airobotics Inc., have successfully obtained Type Certification for its Airobotics Optimus Drone from the prestigious Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This significant achievement is paving the way for the company to deploy permanent drone infrastructure to provide “Smart City” solutions, enhance public safety, enable Drone as First Responder (DFR) capabilities, and offer various commercial and industrial aerial data services.
The first-of-its-kind certification for a non-air carrier operation was achieved after four years of intensive engineering and agency review processes.
Airobotics – The manufacturer of the world’s first “Drone-In-a-Box”
In 2022 Ondas Holdings Inc. a leading provider of private wireless data solutions and commercial drone solutions acquired the Israeli drone manufacturer Airobotics which has developed and introduced to the world the Optimus drone system, the first ever drone equipped with a docking station and a robotic arm, capable of autonomously handle battery and sensor swapping, and launch multiple drone missions, 24/7 with no need in human operators on ground.
The Optimus Gen-1. Photo credit: Airobotics
This cutting-edge concept and drone technology that was introduced by the company in 2017 and later evolved to the term "Drone-In-a-box”, streamlines aerial data capture and enhances critical operations through continuous, fully automated aerial data collection. Since its beginning, Airobotics’ vision has been to deploy these drone systems as a permanent drone infrastructure to provide Drone as a First Responder (DFR) capabilities and “Smart City” solutions, enhance public safety, enable, and provide various commercial and industrial aerial data services.
The challenge of certifying fully automated drone systems
Drones pose significant challenges to civil aviation authorities worldwide. They are restricted from flying over people, roads, and without a visual line of sight with a ground-based drone pilot to avoid collision with manned aircraft and obstacles. In the USA, like in most countries, drones can obtain temporary waivers to operate remotely and over people but a permanent solution like the Airobotics’ Optimus, which is designed to perform hundreds of drone flights is only possible when the drone has an Airworthiness Type Certification, like any other manned aircraft. However, unfortunately, aviation regulations are very conservative, and civil aviation authorities do not have certification processes to evaluate these systems' safety levels.
A Groundbreaking process with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
In 2019, Airobotics started a first-of-its-kind process in the USA with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to certify Airobotics’ Optimus drone system and obtain a Type Certificate (TC) for the Optimus drone. TCs hold significant importance in the aviation industry, as they are mandatory prerequisites for all manned aircraft. The TC process is designed to ensure that the certified aircraft and components meet specific airworthiness standards set by the regulatory authority.
ASTM tests for parachute recovery. Photo credit: Airobotics
TC-approved drones can be operated in a broader range of scenarios, over human beings, without the need for case-by-case waivers, streamlining operations and reducing administrative overhead. The process was initiated due to the maturity of the Optimus drone, its advanced aeronautical features, and its operational experience logging tens of thousands of flight hours worldwide. By verifying the system’s design compliance with the FAA’s stringent airworthiness and noise standards, this certification guarantees the safe operation of the Airobotics Optimus Drone within the National Airspace System (NAS).
The certification process lasted four years and involved rigorous evaluation by the FAA, including comprehensive flight testing, conformity checks, design review, and submission of detailed documentation and manuals.
From Drone-in-a-Box to Drone Infrastructure
The Optimus System is already operating regularly in urban environments in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). with the newly granted TC, Ondas Holdings’ Airobotics plans to leverage it to conduct similar operations in urban environments across the U.S. By completing the TC process, the company will continue chasing its vision of deploying fleets of Optimus Systems as a permanent drone infrastructure.
As a permanent infrastructure providing Smart City drone solutions in order to enhance public safety, enable Drone as First Responder (DFR) capabilities, and offer various commercial and industrial aerial data services. Compared to helicopters a drone infrastructure comprises a network of drones and docking stations, each one covering 30 square miles (80 square kilometers), The Optimus network of drones can respond faster and in a more cost-effective way to any emergency compared to helicopters and drones deployed by first responders arriving to the scene by cars.
A drone infrastructure poses more opportunities for low enforcement, critical infrastructure monitoring, and many other “smart city” digital improvements.
In collaboration with Airobotics.
Airobotics will participate in UVID Dronetech 2023, the largest UAS/drone event in Israel, which will take place on November 2nd, 2023, at Expo Tel Aviv. For additional information and registration visit the UVID website