Harris Corp. has received a two-year grant as part of a team tasked with developing beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) operations for unmanned aircraft systems (UASs). Harris will partner with the University of North Dakota and the Northern Plains UAS Test Site to develop the network infrastructure system under a Research North Dakota grant awarded by the North Dakota Centers of Excellence Commission.

One goal of the two-year effort is the creation of a UAS network capable of providing aviation-grade services for safe and efficient UAS BVLOS operations. The research and development efforts, nominally intended for commercial and industrial use, also have implications for defense applications.

Harris Corp. UAV

The grant is a continuation of a previous grant that included development and a risk and safety assessment of UAS detect-and-avoid technology. The UAS BVLOS network will be developed within the corridor from Grand Forks to Fargo, designed in such a way that it can be scaled to the state of North Dakota, and eventually the entire country. “The use of UAS for business operations—such as remotely monitoring power lines, farms, and rail tracks—represents the future for many organizations,” said George Kirov, vice president and general manager of Harris Electronic Systems’ Commercial UAS Solutions.

“By collaborating with the University of North Dakota and Harris, the Northern Plains UAS Test Site will have the opportunity to evaluate, develop, and implement a UAS network and airspace services,” added Nicholas Flom, executive director for the Northern Plains UAS Test Site. “This network will create a real-world environment for users to develop, test and certify new products and services.”

As part of the development efforts, Harris hopes to partner with end-users in the area, such as railroads and electric utilities, to create UAS test scenarios.