American Water says it has earned a new waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that would allow the utility to fly its drones both beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) and up to an altitude of 1,500 feet above ground level.

American Water uses its drone program to capture hundreds of thousands of images and aerial maps of critical assets annually. Aerial imagery helps the water and wastewater utility company to monitor its systems and improve the reliability of its services.

Last year, American Water secured a BVLOS waiver to safely inspect the facilities that become inaccessible for extended periods of time during flooding events. Now, the new authorization certificate provides the company with opportunities for enhanced environmental monitoring.

As Christopher Kahn, director of UAS at American Water, explains:

American Water is proud to earn this authorization from the FAA, which will allow us to fly three miles from a UAS pilot at an…