Drones as a first responder program begins

14 March 2023
The drone will be deployed as a first responder to 911 calls without the need of visual observers using Iris Automation’s Casia G technology. Source: Flying Lion

Drone service provider Flying Lion and avionics innovator Iris Automation have entered into an agreement to provide drones as first responder (DFR) programs with enhanced airspace awareness.

The collaboration will use Iris Automation’s Casia G ground-based detect and alert system in combination with Flying Lion’s suite of services.

Flying Lion has logged more than 22,000 DFR flights working with law enforcement agencies for rapid emergency response and aerial assessment through DFR programs in four California police departments in Chula Vista, Redondo Beach, Santa Monica and Beverly Hills.

These DFR programs:

  • Feature human remote pilots in command (RPIC).
  • Include visual observers for beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations.
  • Enable the immediate dispatch of a drone in response to a 911 call for real-time aerial awareness.
  • Support ground units to enhance community and first responder safety.

No human pilots needed

With Casia G, the next generation of DFR programs will be able to conduct drone operations without the need for human visual observers. Casia G is a small, low-power, weather-hardened device that can be installed anywhere there is a clear view of the sky.

These devices can be placed on a rooftop, street light pole, cellular towers or other vertical structures. The technology detects aircraft using ADS-B and non-cooperative aircraft using Iris’ patented computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI) software.

The technology alerts the RPIC to avoid objects and resume the mission once the detected aircraft is clear of the operational area. Casia G also sends an automated collision alert to the uncrewed drone command software, resulting in the system automatically executing a pre-programmed avoidance maneuver.

What is BVLOS?

BVLOS allows drone operators to conduct complex drone operations where the device flies beyond a point where the operator can see it. This could be through a camera attached to the drone or for autonomous flight operations without a pilot.

BVLOS is seen as the next great chapter in drone delivery and drone operations. BVLOS is expected to allow these UAS machines to travel farther than ever before for both reconnaissance missions for the military or rescue maneuvers and to allow startups to take packages across larger distances to expand last-mile logistics operations.

There are a number of projects that have cropped up exploring BVLOS including one in the U.K. with ANRA, F-drone tests involving maritime deliveries at night and previous testing by the FAA to promote BVLOS technology.

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