The drill imagined the scenario of a category-five hurricane wreaking havoc in New Jersey. Before emergency responders are dispatched, a fleet of unmanned aircraft is deployed to gather intelligence, providing real-time mapping and imagery of damaged areas, evacuation routes, utility lines and even people in distress.
This scenario was simulated at the Thunder Room, a conference facility at the National Aviation Research and Technology Park (NARTP), one of the sponsoring agencies for the drill, along with Cape May County and the Smart Airport Aviation Partnership. The drill was managed by American Aerospace Technologies, and many partners and participants.
UAS can provide critical information
"Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are a post-disaster force multiplier," said David Yoel, AATI CEO. "In the aftermath of a disaster, UAS can provide critical information to first responders, accelerating response while increasing safety and effectiveness."
"These UAS can be valuable tools in emergency response, but they are not yet used due to concerns about impeding manned aircraft, like helicopters," added Howard Kyle, President of the National Aviation Research and Technology Park. "This exercise is an example of the important research and technology events that are sponsored regularly at NARTP."
The Emergency Response Exercise, led by NARTP, was conducted by private companies and local, state, and federal agencies.
"We are grateful to the US EDA for funding a significant portion of the research through an Innovation Challenge Grant," said Carole Mattessich, Director of Smart Airport Aviation Partnership. "The private companies participated at their own expense because this work has serious implications for emergency response."
Earlier this year, the new Revector Detector Drone was unveiled, an unmanned aerial vehicle with a mobile phone base station attached that can fly over hard-to-reach areas in the aftermath of natural disasters or accidents and locate survivors through their mobile phones