Efforts to better coordinate drone responses to natural and human-made disasters have landed The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) a three-year, $828,070 grant, the second-largest in a group recently awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
“This is a continuation of work UAH began with the FAA in disaster response starting a few years ago,” says Jerry Hendrix, director of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Program at the Rotorcraft Systems Engineering and Simulation Center (RSESC) at UAH, a part of the University of Alabama System.
“Our progress to-date has defined new first responder UAS operating procedures for disaster support, and we have begun exercises in these new procedures and checklists in mock events across the country, in Alabama, Vermont, North Carolina and New Mexico.”
UAH will collaborate with Kansas State University, New Mexico State University, the University of Vermont and North Carolina State University. The work will focus on procedures to integrate UAS operators from within federal agencies such as the Department of Interior and the Department of Homeland Security, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as local and state disaster preparedness and emergency response organizations, to ensure proper coordination during emergencies.