Autonomous systems

Autonomous systems

Pioneering enabling technologies 

In Europe, drone classification falls into one of three categories. Open (<25kg and inside the Visual Line of Sight), Specified (<150kg and possibly outside the line of sight) and Certified (>150kg and high risk). The proliferation Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in the open category has forced airspace authorities to define the procedures to enable safe operation. The employment of larger drone systems (from a regulatory perspective) is in a state of flux, as no regulation has been agreed and requires each large drone platform to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. It is up to the operator to demonstrate it is safe by design (platform), safe to engineer (airworthiness) and can be operated safely (operators).


Historically (and predominately due to cost and risk appetite) large UAS sales were aimed at the defence market.  However, as technology advances, systems are becoming more accessible for civilian operations which brings significant challenges with regard to maintaining their safety and ensuring the safety of other air users.

Modini’s core expertise sits with the design, development and integration of larger air systems for civilian applications. Our recent experience in delivering Class 2 (greater than 150kg+) UAS has enabled us to refine the core offering which has been accepted by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Our primary goal was to demonstrate an acceptable means of compliance for systems which operate regularly beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS). Key safety concerns still exist, namely the qualification of aircrew, the capability of the platform and the policy in regulation which is currently undefined by airspace authorities.


Modini operates under a continuing airworthiness organisation structure (part CAO), specifically designed for drone operations.


Our core competencies include:

  • UAS operational design and delivery
  • Operational analysis of drone systems
  • Unmanned capability design and integration
  • Policies and procedures which have redefined the employment of sensors
  • Operating safety case drafting and approval (OSC)
  • Defining alternative acceptable means of compliance (AAMC) 
  • Fully qualified civilian aircrew and engineers 

As RAS are one of the most important emergent key enabling technologies, it represents an important area for scientific and engineering endeavour, now and in the future. RAS will be of immense socioeconomic impact, pervading all areas of society including communication, agriculture, medicine and transport. There is great potential for industrial advances, including the creation of new start-up companies, providing economic opportunities for the UK and elsewhere. Realising the potential for these new technologies requires transformational science and engineering closely allied with the needs of industry and society


The Royal Society’s 2015 report titled ‘Robotics and autonomous systems – visions, challenges and actions'

Get in touch