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Boeing and the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) as part of the CAA’s Innovation Sandbox project.
The Innovation Sandbox is intended to help foster collaboration between industry and regulators, with the goal of shaping future regulation of the aviation and travel industries in the UK.
The Innovation Sandbox enables participants to work with the CAA to test and trial innovative aviation solutions in a safe and controlled environment, with a focus on solutions outside the existing scope of regulations. It is part of CAA’s newly-formed Innovation Hub and acts in an advisory capacity, separate from the regulatory approval function of the CAA.
Steve Nordlund, vice president and general manager of Boeing NeXt, said: “We share the goal of promoting innovation and emerging technologies. At Boeing NeXt, we are working to lay the foundation for a future mobility ecosystem in which autonomous and piloted vehicles can safely coexist. Test-and-learn projects like those we’ll undertake with CAA are invaluable in that regard.”
Frédéric Laugère, Innovation Services Lead at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “Unlocking the potential for safe, everyday beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations by unmanned aircraft is a key element of our innovation work. Boeing’s planned input in our regulatory sandbox will look to help address some of the key outstanding issues and will help significantly in driving this work forward. Boeing’s significant experience in all areas of aviation means it is well placed to not only drive forward unmanned flight but also consider how BVLOS operations will impact all areas of aviation.”
Sir Martin Donnelly, president of Boeing Europe and managing director of Boeing UK and Ireland, said: “This partnership reflects our continued commitment to the future of UK and global aerospace. It comes shortly after our investments in UK startup companies through our ATI Boeing accelerator and is a sign of Boeing’s recognition of the UK’s great strength in innovation.”
Boeing’s work under the MOU will fall primarily into four categories:
- Development and review of a safety case to enable beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) above 400 feet
- Exploration of minimum requirements for detect and avoid (DAA) solutions as part of a layered safety case
- Assessment and evaluation of current DAA solutions against these requirements
- Development of a proposed set of operational procedures to support BVLOS operations
The company will also perform a series of test flights to evaluate the projects listed above. The MOU is currently slated to last through 2020.
Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading provider of commercial airplanes, defense, space and security systems, and global services.