Inside Unmanned Systems

OCT-NOV 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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SPECIAL REPORT 16 unmanned systems inside   October/November 2017 Photos courtesy of Brian Emfinger and Live Storms Media, Butch Stephens of So Fly Productions, The Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence and Innovation at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, and BNSF (Nick Dryer). While this certainly wasn't the first time UAS were deployed after a hur- ricane, it was the first time they were used on such a large scale. All operators worked closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to obtain authori- zation to deploy in areas with temporary f light restrictions (TFRs), and coordi- nated with emergency responders and other officials to ensure they flew safely, never getting in the way of manned air- craft who were performing rescue opera- tions or other important missions. In many instances, UAS made it possible to access areas that other- wise wouldn't have been reachable for days—helping to get services back on- line faster as well as speed up the long recovery process. Coordinated Action At least two UAS groups from within the state pulled their resources to help after Harvey hit: Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence and Innovation at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi zations in Fort Bend County and with Dr. Robin Murphy and her Roboticists Without Borders group, which is part of The Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue (CRASAR) at Texas A&M University. They surveyed dams, levees, roadways and assessed the continu- ing rise of water in that area, Hendrix said. From there they went on to sur- vey Rockport, Holiday Beach and Port Aransas, and f lew a variety of UAS equipped with dif- ferent sensors to capture the devastation. The photos collected were anchored to Google Satellite imager y so officials could compare and determine exactly how much damage houses in the area had sustained. The UAS were equipped with LiDAR during some assessment f lights, so county officials could use 3-D models built from the point cloud to sur- vey both sides of a home. and the Public Safety UAS Response Team out of Johnson County, Texas, which is near Dallas. Jerry Hendrix, executive director of the Center of Excellence (COE), spent two weeks in the hardest-hit areas. Hendrix and his team started at the Port of Corpus Christi. They helped secure the necessary permissions to fly in the restricted airspace, over people and beyond visual line of site (BVLOS) over 25 miles of the ship channel. The port wasn't open to shipping and commerce, and the goal of the f lights was to iden- tify any hazards that would make opening the port un- safe. The f lights revealed previously unknown dam- age to some of the buildings and a sunken boat in one of the channels that no one had reported. The Lone Star team also worked with other organi- FOR MORE BNSF and other railway operators have been flying drones for the last few years. Read Flying the Rails at insideunmannedsystems.com to learn more about how drones are used to make railway inspections faster and safer. RELATED STORIES ONLINE Outer main bands of Hurricane Harvey coming ashore in Seadrift, Texas. Images taken after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas. AFTER THE STORM „

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