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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Page 29 of 75

SPECIAL REPORT 30 unmanned systems inside October/November 2017 news organizations can download video taken by freelancers. His videos were downloaded about 10 times, and were used by local media to show their viewers the devastation. Fox Sports used some of the footage for a segment they did on J.J. Watt and the money he raised for the hurricane, and there's also plans for it to be used in an episode of The Little Couple, a TLC show based in Houston. Learning from the Challenges The benefits to flying UAS after hurri- canes like Harvey and Irma are many, but of course so are the challenges. There's not only harsh weather condi- tions to deal with, keeping systems grounded or at least extremely limited, there's navigating TFRs, finding ways to keep batteries charged, avoiding manned aircraft that are part of the re- covery efforts, remaining self-sufficient in areas with limited resources, effec- tively working with local officials and interacting with community members who have just lost their homes and may not understand why drones are being f lown in their area. Pilots have to be prepared to handle the harsh condi- tions, and also to deal with the devas- tation and despair that surrounds them. It was a bit of an emotional roller coaster for many of the UAS operators, but most community members and of- ficials were appreciative of their efforts. Swarms of large mosquitos were a constant menace for Gyokeres and his team, and the logistics to operat- ing the UAS, mostly DJI systems, and finding places for everyone to sleep in the RV proved difficult at times. No matter how frustrating a situation be- came, however, they knew they had it much better than the people of Texas who were f looded out of their homes. Gyokeres had plenty of stories to share about the communities, and the spirit Texans showed as they dealt with the aftermath of Harvey. One instance in particular sticks out. A church in Rockport that sat on the main road in town, about a mile and a half from shore, was unusable after the storm. The pews were smashed into the back walls, part of the building had been ripped off and what was left of the inside was covered in debris. The church members set up a tent in front of that church to cook food for anyone who needed it. "Is that all you got Harvey?" was written on the side of the door—a common question that Gyokeres saw penciled in near and around many of the destroyed homes in Rockport. "I don't think this is about the storm," he said. "It's about the people." While drones have been used to help hurricane recovery efforts before, these storms represent the first time they were used on such a large scale. That's mostly because of the timing, Hendrix said. Part 107 has been in effect for a year, opening up the pos- sibilities for drone use, and the tech- nology has reached a level that makes UAS a viable solution for a host of ap- plications. People are more educated and accepting of the systems, though there's still more that can be done to prepare first responders to take advan- tage of the technology after storms like Harvey and Irma. Going forward, Hendrix would like Photos courtesy of Public Safety UAS Response Team and Dr. Starek's Team. The Public Safety UAS Response Team, made up of a variety of agencies in Johnson County, Texas, fl ew drones after Harvey to help Missouri City offi cials evaluate levees. 3-D Point Cloud Rockport, TX „ AFTER THE STORM

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