Israel’s National Drone Initiative has entered its second stage, involving experiments with long-range aircraft carrying heavy loads, the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) announced on Thursday.

The first stage, conducted in 2020-2022, involved more than 15,000 drone flights in Israeli cities and 18 medical institutions, according to the IAA.

The focus during the initial stage was on security, photography, transportation of medical equipment and the development of regulatory and technological infrastructure. Numerous collaborations with public entities were carried out, including the military, the police and the Tel Aviv Municipality, the IAA said in a statement.

In the second phase, scheduled to begin in January, a number of companies will carry out 24 flights over the following two years with drones carrying heavier loads—including some that in the future will be capable of carrying passengers.

The flights will be carried out under the auspices of the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel, the Israel Air Force, the Israel Airports Authority and other relevant regulatory bodies, according to the statement.

“This very large demonstration will expand global knowledge by executing simultaneous flights, including dozens of unmanned drones carrying cargo and advanced drones with cutting-edge technologies designed to carry passengers. The demonstration will evaluate the technological maturity of such solutions in a controlled, responsible, safety-first mindset,” the statement continued.

The experiments will begin with limited flight tests over unpopulated areas, with later flights taking place over sparsely populated areas.

“Israel continues to be a world leader in drone technology…Israel serves as a  model of a country that develops regulations and technologies to enable the management and control of the operation of multiple drones for various needs, and is rapidly approaching a continuous operating model that will enable low-altitude flights throughout the country,” said IIA CEO Dror Bin.  

Nehemiah Shalem, acting director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel, said that the organization was committed to fully supporting all of the entities involved in the project.

“Additionally, the CAAI will promote the critical legislative actions required for developing a thriving aviation industry that serves as a world leader while never compromising on flight safety,” said Shalem.

JNS

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