Woolpert, Inc., a national geospatial, infrastructure management and design firm specializing in high-tech mapping and imagery collection services, has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly its unmanned aerial system commercially in Ohio and Ship Island, Miss. This exemption comes after years of research and development as well as close coordination with the FAA. This grant of exemption by the FAA marks the first for a surveying and aerial mapping company to be approved to fly a UAS commercially in designated airspace.
“Woolpert has been providing surveying and mapping services for more than 50 years, with a focused commitment on the advancement of related technologies and processes. UAS technology will enable a revolutionary leap in terms of capability, repeatability and efficiency when it comes to monitoring and mapping services,” said Jeff Lovin, Woolpert senior vice president. “UAS will change the way we conduct some of our existing business in the not-too-distant future, but more importantly, will create completely new and world-changing applications we haven’t even thought of yet.”
The data applications with a UAS are far reaching and range from rapid damage assessment and emergency response to surveying and mapping of energy and transportation corridors, construction monitoring, environmental studies and precision agriculture, which could be impactful national disaster recovery to individual farmers. “The data we will be able to collect in Ohio through this exemption will serve as the foundation for a proof of concept on a number of national applications for UAS,” said Matt Hutchinson, Ph.D., Woolpert associate and research scientist, “and we look forward to offering this new technology and its applications to benefit organizations across the U.S.”
This exemption marks a significant milestone for the state of Ohio. With its aviation heritage, Ohio has made huge strides to lead the charge in developing training centers, technologies, data processing techniques and advanced applications related to UAS. By securing the exemption from the FAA, Woolpert contributes to this effort by advancing Ohio and the Dayton region as a leader in developing exciting new uses for UAS with the potential for substantial industry growth.