Mr. Graetz is Director of BNSF Railway’s safety-focused use of unmanned aerial systems and advanced data analytics. Founded in 2013, the UAS Team has been focused on developing a wide range of aerial inspection technologies focused on asset health, change detection, service interruption response and employee safety. Early proof of performance flight efforts commenced in 2014 with The Lone Star UAS Test Site and in 2015, BNSF’s UAS Program was one of the first companies to receive commercial drone flight authority and in partnership with Insitu, was also the first commercial entity to operate beyond visual line of sight aircraft in the ‘lower 48’ United States. Since then, BNSF has continued to expand both line of sight and beyond visual line of sight flight operations – BNSF’s line of sight pilot team now includes over 150 employee pilots and BNSF’s beyond visual line of sight team regularly operates long range flights in excess of 300 miles in multiple states – many of which are operated from a Texas based flight control center.
Via The FAA’s Pathfinder Program and based on a cooperative research and development agreement that continues to this day, Todd’s team has the distinct privilege of assisting The FAA in developing beyond line of sight (BVLOS) capabilities and integration of BVLOS automated aircraft into the national airspace – an effort that directly applies to many other potential uses of drones for public safety, commerce and transportation.
Previous to Mr. Graetz’s employment at BNSF, he spent 15 years in various executive roles in the telecom and broadcast industries as well as advanced technology research. Todd has served on a number of FAA/DOT rulemaking committees and currently serves on The FAA’s Drone Advisory Committee. Along with several UAS certifications, Todd is an active private pilot