Collaboration to Advance Disaster Response Research

Verizon Frontline will provide the UAS platform, sensor, and personnel resources needed to rapidly respond and collect aerial imagery of storm-damaged areas identified by the NOAA By Abi Wylie / 15 May 2024
Collaboration to Advance Disaster Response Research
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NOAA and Verizon Frontline have signed a three-year Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to explore new strategies for disaster response. 

These new strategies include rapidly deploying uncrewed aircraft systems that will collect and distribute imagery of damage resulting from severe storms such as tornadoes and hurricanes.

As part of this partnership, the Verizon Frontline Crisis Response Team will provide the uncrewed aircraft system platform, sensor, and personnel resources needed to rapidly respond and collect aerial imagery of storm-damaged areas of interest identified by NOAA.

The goal is to enhance the ability of NOAA’s National Weather Service offices to quickly conduct post-storm damage assessments, while also providing data for research conducted by the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory. This data will be used to help researchers better understand tornado behavior and impacts with a goal of improving warnings.

Typically after a storm, National Weather Service personnel perform damage surveys and gather data to assign tornado ratings, document a storm’s path, and improve the accuracy of future tornado forecasts. Uncrewed aircraft systems provide an advantage because they can more efficiently gather critical information in remote, hard-to-reach areas where it is difficult for people to travel. 

In the past, NOAA has used uncrewed systems for some storm damage assessment. This new partnership is designed to supplement existing resources and gather more information more quickly.

Developed over three decades of partnership with public safety officials and agencies on the front lines, Verizon Frontline is the advanced network and technology built for first responders to meet their unique and evolving needs.

Climate, weather, and water affect all life on our ocean planet. NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict our changing environment, from the deep sea to outer space, and to manage and conserve America’s coastal and marine resources. 

“This collaboration has the potential to demonstrate how partnerships with Verizon and other organizations to gather drone imagery can significantly improve the services provided by the NWS to the public and partners when disaster strikes,” said Tim Oram, NWS Southern Region Headquarters Meteorological Services Branch Chief. The CRADA specifically applies to the NWS Southern Region and NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory.

Michael Adams, Associate Vice President for Federal Civilian Services at Verizon, said; “This collaboration will pioneer new strategies aimed at gathering and disseminating crucial imagery, leveraging our collective expertise to enhance response efforts to severe storms and mitigate their impact on communities across the U.S.”

Posted by Abi Wylie Connect & Contact