American Water Achieves Drone Program Milestone and Obtains FAA BVLOS Waiver

CAMDEN, NJ–(BUSINESS WIRE)–American water (NYSE: AWK), the largest publicly traded water and wastewater utility company in the United States, is proud to announce a milestone for its Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) program. American Water has obtained a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). This waiver will allow American Water to fly 4 miles from the UAS pilot, providing the company with the opportunity to improve its monitoring of source water and potential environmental threats to the water supply.

“This waiver is a significant and exceptionally rare achievement for American Water and our UAS program,” said Christopher Kahn, Director of UAS, American Water. “American Water captures more than 500,000 aerial images and maps of its assets each year through our drone program. These images help us monitor our systems and continue to provide our customers with safe and reliable water and wastewater service. »

American Water also places great importance on aviation safety. The company uses an aviation safety management system (SMS) and its pilots receive up to 250 hours of initial training, depending on the complexity of the airframe and the mission. Beyond training, SMS provides a structured means of decision-making in security risk management.

In addition to water source monitoring, American Water intends to use BVLOS for emergency response activities. “As a water utility, many of our critical facilities are located at low elevations and may be inaccessible for extended periods during flooding,” Kahn says. “Our long-range mapping and inspection cells, the Censys Technologies Sentaero BVLOS V2, provide the ability to safely inspect facilities miles away, while remaining in the air for over an hour.

“Receiving this FAA approval for American Water is significant for the integration of drones into the national airspace, as it is an example of standardizing enterprise operations across multiple applications,” says Trevor Perrott, CEO and co-founder of Censys Technologies. “Thanks to the leadership of American Water, our country is one step closer to making safe BVLOS drone missions commonplace. What is exciting is that the story does not end there.

American Water is currently working closely with several government agencies and partner organizations to enable BVLOS UAS missions during Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs), which are typically in place after natural disasters.

About US Water

With a history dating back to 1886, American Water (NYSE: AWK) is America’s largest and most geographically diverse water and wastewater utility company. The company employs approximately 6,400 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and similar drinking water and sanitation services to approximately 14 million people in 24 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to help them get on with their lives. For more information, visit and Follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

About Censys Technologies

Censys Technologies Corporation builds remote sensing hardware and software solutions for UAS service providers, enterprises, and government entities. This includes the Sentaero product family, which is the leader in drone performance and value for agriculture, infrastructure monitoring, disaster relief and public safety. Founded by three Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University alumni in 2017, Censys Technologies’ priorities are centered on understanding customer needs and providing technologies and products that will work and grow their business – bringing business intelligence beyond the horizon.

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