UAS Technology Assists Tornado Damage Assessment

Published: 24 May 2017 | Author: Mike Rees

Aeryon SkyRanger Tornado Damage Assessment

Aeryon Labs has partnered with Textron Systems Unmanned Systems’ Civil & Commercial team to support disaster response efforts for the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management. The Civil & Commercial team provided full-motion video in real-time to the Emergency Operations Center in Oklahoma City and the National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma. The video was used to rapidly and safely assess the tornado damage from an EF-2 tornado that took place in Elk City.

Textron Systems’ operators and representatives from Aeryon Labs traveled 120 miles to the impact site and began operations within 20 minutes after the tornado’s impact. Once on-site, the team operated an Aeryon SkyRanger small unmanned aerial system (sUAS) to collect more than one hour of high-definition video and georeferenced still imagery over the tornado damage. The real-time video feed was directly provided to Oklahoma’s regional Emergency Operations Centers via the AeryonLive Video & Telemetry solution that streams live video, images and aircraft telemetry from the SkyRanger sUAS across a secure bonded cellular network connection. The video was also broadcast live to the National Weather Service in Norman.

“It is difficult for first-responders to quickly assess the damage after a tornado impact due to downed powerlines and other debris,” says Textron Systems Senior Director of Sales and Marketing of Civil & Commercial Products Dennis Racine. “However, with our support, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management was able to rapidly and safely assess the damage to determine what types of resources were needed to help those in Elk City.”

“Aeryon is proud to partner with Textron Systems in the delivery of real-time, real-world UAS solutions in demanding applications,” said Bill McHale, CEO at Aeryon Labs. “We are honored that our technology and personnel could play a part in the disaster response effort in Oklahoma.”

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