Azur Drones said today it has received approval for fully autonomous drone flights in Europe, granted by the Directorate-General for Civil Aviation (DGAC) in France.
The maker of surveillance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) said it has received “the first and only DGAC approval for a fully automated drone,” the Skyetech system, which requires no remote pilot and can take off and land from a docking station. “This specific approval is unprecedented since any authorized flight scenario in France requires a qualified pilot, the company said in a statement.
Drones can perform BVLOS flights, day or night, and over people
Azur said its Skyetech drones can fly over private areas, beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), day or night, in urban areas, under simple supervision of a remote operator. “With this unique approval, the system will be directly operated by a security guard with no pilot license,” Azur Drones said. “The drone will thus be used to patrol the area or provide valuable areal insights in case of an alarm.”
“We are very proud of this approval, which rewards an 18-month close collaboration with DGAC services,” said Stephane Morelli, managing director at Azur Drones. “Our system had to comply with the civilian aviation authorities’ requirements in terms of safety, reliability, and quality.”
The approval opens up additional markets “that are currently restrained by the complexity of common drone solutions implementation,” the company added. It said it plans to make autonomous drones a standard in the security market in France and overseas, noting that discussions are already underway with other authorities in additional countries.
Founded in 2012, the company has raised more than $7.4 million over two funding rounds, the latest in June 2018. In October 2017, the company bought startup Bordeaux Skyetech for its autonomous drone technology. The drones have the capability of optical, thermal, and laser sensors, in addition to the autonomous operation ability.