Inside Unmanned Systems

DEC 2018 - JAN 2019

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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AIR IPP FLORIDA 20  December 2018/January 2019 unmanned systems inside checking the water levels. So instead of flying the entire route, the drone could show problem areas, then we could get an inspector to head out there." Using a sensor that targets a spe- cific bandwidth or set of frequencies, drones also might be able to identify algae that serve as prime locations for mosquito breeding, said Dennis King, the FA A team program man- ager who is working with the Florida group. Today, such inspections require a three-man team to travel by boat to get to the algae. Drones would make this process more efficient, and free up man power for other tasks. With guidance from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, a potential program partner, the district is look- ing to invest in the Penguin C UAS for the first phase of testing, said Rita Maiss, special projects manager for the first phase of testing is expected to begin in the spring, Jackson said. THE SECOND GOAL: STERILE MOSQUITO RELEASE One of the ways the district plans to control the mosquito population is to release sterile males in urban areas, so when females lay their eggs after mat- ing, those eggs won't be viable—help- ing to slash that species' population, Jackson said. The mosquito they're fo- cusing on is the Aedes aegypti, which carries Yellow Fever and other diseas- es. These mosquitos are found in areas with tiny pools of stagnant water, such as bird baths and rain gutters, which traditionally are more difficult to hit with insecticides. Instead of using a moving van to release the mosquitos, a UAS could drop them into residential areas. "This would involve f lying over peo- ple and at night," Jackson said. "But it depends on the technology out there and if we're able to develop a system to release the mosquitos that works on a drone." Mosquitos are starting to become resistant to the insecticides used to control them, Jackson said, making this an even more valuable solution. Of course, there are many different kinds of mosquitos found in Florida, Maiss said, so using this technique for one species won't help control the oth- ers. Still, having the ability to release sterile mosquitos at night in residen- tial areas that are difficult to spray will help put a dent in the population. SPOT SPRAYING Using a small drone to spot spray in- secticides is another application the team wants to look into. For example, COMMUNITY OUTREACH The Lee County Mosquito Control District already has a community outreach program in place for their manned operations and will use that to leverage outreach for their drone program, said Dennis King, the Federal Aviation Administration team program manager working with the Florida IPP team. Team members who visit local schools to talk about the district's mosquito control program are now including the benefits of using drones in those discussions, said Eric Jackson, deputy director for public information and education for the Lee County Mosquito & Hyacinth Control Districts. For now, they're focusing on the different ways drones can be used to help control the mosquito population. Jackson has talked with local and national news outlets about the program in an effort to educate the public. There's also a section on the districts' website that gives a basic overview of the drone program along with a dedicated email address citizens can use to send questions they have about UAS or IPP. Once they're ready to start flying, the team will work with King to set up a media event to further educate the public about the program. What we do is very important to the quality of life for the people of Southwest Florida. Drones certainly could help augment our operation." Eric Jackson, deputy director, public information and education, Lee County Mosquito & Hyacinth Control Districts " the Mosquito Control District and a manned aircraft pilot. The long en- durance, long range UAS features a catapult launch, which means it can be launched from remote locations with- out a runway. It comes equipped with a parachute and airbag for landing and takes less than an hour to put together out of the box. While the team is still solidifying partners and working out the details, Photo courtesy of Lee County Mosquito Control District. Rita Maiss, special projects manager for the Lee County Mosquito Control District, flies a drone.

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