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 18 unmanned systems inside   October/November 2017 "It's like looking at a street view on Google Earth, except you can rotate all the way around the property and use that model to measure things," Hendrix said. "You can see where the property line is, how much of the house was destroyed, what the distance is from one area of damage to another. It's all to support damage assessment." The data they collected helped de- termine the percentage of damage in each community, house by house, and that percentage was used to calculate the total damage in the county—en- abling them to gain more federal aid, Hendrix said. One of the COE's other main roles was to educate local officials about the importance of putting up TFRs, Hendrix said. A lot of people would come to hard-hit areas, UAS in hand, wanting to help, but many of these well-intentioned pilots just didn't have the necessary experience and would only get in the way. It was important that the only people f lying had permis- sion from the FAA and were coordinat- ing with manned aviation. Jamie Moore, Johnson County's emer- gency management coordinator and head of the Public Safety UAS Response Team, was ready to deploy pretty quickly after Harvey made landfall, but had to wait a few days before he could make the trip. The team initially thought they would get a state deployment, but that pipeline was backlogged and it never happened. Eventually, Missouri City sent a request to the team for their ser- vices. Once Moore's group arrived, they began f lying UAS to evaluate levees. Officials wanted to make sure the le- vees were holding and that unreachable pumps were still functional. "The information was sent back to the emergency operations center in real time so they could make a decision on the response and recovery process," UAS pilot assesses post Harvey damage on Highway 69 in Silsbee, Texas. Moore said. "The engineers scoured through the videos, and found some fractures in the levee they had missed by helicopter just two hours before. It gave them a different perspective, and they could combine all that informa- tion to make better decisions." Officials in Missouri City didn't have much experience with UAS, so Moore spent time educating them about what the technology could do and how they could best use the assets, from high- resolution detailed maps to volume cal- culations. The most frustrating part of the process was getting the initial per- mission to f ly in another jurisdiction's airspace. The group's blanket COA cov- ers f lights when there's an emergency in Johnson County, but nowhere else. Had they gotten there sooner, they might have been able to help more with search and rescue operations, deliver- ing water and other supplies to citizens stranded on their roofs. That said, after getting the initial permissions, the process became much easier. All they needed to do was call or email the state operations center, give their GPS coordinates and any other pertinent f light-related information, and the person in charge of UAS opera- MAKING IT WORK WHILE FLYING MISSIONS NEAR BEAUMONT, Dallas Griffin used YouTube to live stream video so officials could see what the drone saw in real time. Service was a little spotty the first day, but after that the process was smoother. One of the biggest challenges was keeping his UAS charged. He usually can fly for about two hours, but that often wasn't enough to cover all of the area the officials needed to see. He had to figure out how to charge on the fly, and ended up using a generator most of the time. Traveling was also a challenge. Roads were flooded and blocked around him, so he could only go so far—and he had to be aware of how much gas he had, as that was often difficult to find.  Photo courtesy of Lone Star UAViators LLC. " THE ENGINEERS SCOURED THROUGH THE VIDEOS, AND FOUND SOME FRACTURES IN THE LEVEE THEY HAD MISSED BY HELICOPTER JUST TWO HOURS BEFORE. IT GAVE THEM A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE, AND THEY COULD COMBINE ALL THAT INFORMATION TO MAKE BETTER DECISIONS." Jamie Moore, Johnson County emergency management coordinator and head of the Public Safety UAS Response Team AFTER THE STORM

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