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 22  December 2018/January 2019 unmanned systems inside instead of a manned aircraft going to an island and spraying the entire area, a small UAS can carry a bottle of in- secticide and just spray where mos- quitos have been identified, King said. This saves the district time and money and gives them more control over their resources. While the technolog y isn't quite there yet, it's advancing quickly, mak- ing this application a possibility in the near future, King said. There are mangroves in Florida that are difficult to get to, and drones might be able to help the district identify wet areas they didn't know existed, Maiss said. Once the technology is available, drones also could target specific weeds with insecticide. "We know we want to use drones for surveillance and to release sterile mosquitos. It remains to be seen how our program will evolve," Maiss said. "We're open to possibilities, and spray- ing aquatic weeds is something we've talked about." PARTNERS When the Florida team decided to re- focus, they knew they needed to find new partners who could help them reach their goals, Jackson said. It's critical for the small district to work with companies and organizations that can pull from their experience to help guide them. They don't have any partners offi- cially on board yet, but they're getting close, Jackson said. Other than Embry- Riddle, there's also been interest from Sky Source Aerial, Iris Automation, Fortem Technologies and Leading Edge Associates. The team is work- ing out the details with each poten- tial partner now and expects to have agreements in place by early 2019. "Now that we've established what we want to achieve, we're looking at what vehicles are going to allow us to do that," Jackson said. " The Penguin C could f it the bill for sur- veillance, then we' ll look at more copter-st yle drones for insect re- lease. The challenge as we set these different benchmarks is we need to get the personnel in place. We are going to see what exper ts we can bring in to help us through the re- mainder of this project." MOVING FORWARD The district always has been active with manned aircraft, f lying helicop- ters in the spring, summer and fall to help manage the area's mosquito population. That's one of the reasons they wanted to be involved with IPP, Jackson said. It's important for them to know how UAS will integrate with their manned pilots so they can better understand how to share the airspace and ensure safety, while also providing the community with an efficient, effec- tive service. They're excited to be part of the program and to contribute to moving UAS regulations forward, but now re- alize how much time and manpower the project involves. Their six manned aircraft pilots just don't have the time necessary to dedicate to the program, which is why they're looking to bring in outside pilots to help. Once IPP is over, the team will con- tinue to operate its UAS program in a way that best serves the community. "What we do is very important to the quality of life for the people of Southwest Florida," Jackson said. "Drones certainly could help augment our operation. They do already, as we use them to survey aquatic weeds in line of sight. There's a lot of potential there. The technology is growing at a fast rate. Who knows how we'll be us- ing them 10 years from now." Photo courtesy of Lee County Mosquito Control District. Now that we've established what we want to achieve, we're looking at what vehicles are going to allow us to do that." Eric Jackson, deputy director, public information and education, Lee County Mosquito & Hyacinth Control Districts " The Lee County Mosquito Control District compound, including the airfield.

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