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Hogan Lovells Assists American Robotics to Become First Company Approved by FAA to Operate Automated Drones Without Humans On-Site

Washington D.C., January 2020 – Global law firm Hogan Lovells provided regulatory counsel and advice to American Robotics, a leading developer of fully-automated commercial drone systems, in its successful effort to obtain the first-ever approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to operate automated drones without human operators on-site.

Prior waivers and certifications awarded by the FAA required visual observers stationed along the flightpath or other restrictions such as infrastructure masking. American Robotics’ Scout System, which features advanced acoustic Detect-and-Avoid technology, along with a layered and redundant system of safety that includes proprietary technical and operations risk mitigations, proved that its drone-based aerial intelligence platform operates safely in the National Airspace System, even when it conducts flights Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight (BVLOS).

Lisa Ellman, partner and Chair of the Global UAS Practice at Hogan Lovells, and Executive Director of the Commercial Drone Alliance said:

“The commercial drone industry is growing quickly and providing significant benefits to the American public, but enabling expanded operations beyond visual line of sight is critical for the industry to truly take off. Automated BVLOS operations are particularly important to opening the commercial sectors to the drone economy, including the agriculture and industrial verticals.

Key to these operations is the use and FAA acceptance of new and innovative safety technologies, such as detect and avoid (DAA) sensors and software-enabled automation. American Robotics’ groundbreaking and exciting FAA approval is an important and significant step forward for the commercial drone community as a whole.

The commercial drone industry looks forward to building on American Robotics’ success and continuing to work with the FAA toward safe integration of UAS into our National Airspace System.”

The Hogan Lovells regulatory team for American Robotics was led by Ellman and included counsel Patrick Rizzi and senior associate Matthew Clark.

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