Nevada and California agencies are working together to advance drone use in emergency evacuations. On May 19, a first-of-its-kind evacuation drill was performed on the Nevada-California border just north of Lake Tahoe, the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems and partners said.

The institute works with the governor’s economic development office and acts as a clearinghouse for drone-related business opportunities.

The drone was faced with two missions during the drill: deliver medical supplies to an injured firefighter, and transmit live video of the scene while a helicopter was dispatched to fly just hundreds of feet below the drone.

This was the first time commercial drones in the U.S. completed simultaneous operations in the same airspace as a helicopter with the common mission of saving lives and property, according to NIAS.

The mission was a success; the firefighter was airlifted to safety and the drone returned to base after flying 23.4 miles over the span of about an hour.

“We’re all realizing the significant value of drones in these operations, going where humans can’t go,” Chris Walach, senior director of all FAA-designated Nevada unmanned aerial systems test sites and NIAS, told the Review-Journal Wednesday. “We’re barely scratching the surface of opening this industry to include all sizes of drones.”

Reno-based autonomous unmanned vehicle provider Drone America led the drill with support from NIAS and in partnership with more than 17 first responder agencies from both Nevada and California.

The North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District is now in the process of becoming a response partner with Drone America.

“The Bi-State Evacuation Drill was a clear demonstration of how we can all work together, potentially saving lives and saving tax payers dollars,” district fire chief Ryan Sommers said in a statement.

Drone use in public safety operations is one of the most important ways for Nevada stakeholders to help grow the unmanned aviation industry, Walach said.

“One life saved makes the past and future investment in the Nevada (unmanned aerial systems) industry or Nevada-based drone companies like Drone America all worth it,” Walach said.

Source: Las Vegas Review Journal

UAV DACH: Beitrag im Original auf, mit freundlicher Genehmigung von UAS Vision automatisch importiert, Der Beitrag gibt nicht unbedingt die Meinung oder Position des UAV DACH e.V. wieder. Das Original ist in englischer Sprache.