Iris Automation and City of Reno Partner on River Search and Rescue Program

October 23, 2020 0 Comments

Iris Automation, providers of the Casia onboard Detect and Avoid (DAA) collision avoidance system, has partnered with the City of Reno under the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program (IPP).  The partnership is to develop the River Search and Rescue Program, designed to equip the city’s fire department with drone technology for life-saving rescues.

Earlier this week Iris conducted a live drone flight demonstration for the City of Reno Fire Department.  “The demonstration took place in Nevada over the Carson River at Fort Churchill State Historic Park, using a drone integrated with Casia to illustrate how this cutting-edge technology will be used to provide automated situational awareness for drones and their pilots,” says a press release. “Technologies like onboard DAA are critical to ensuring that drones are safely integrated into the national airspace and able to avoid collisions with other manned aircraft.”

Drones have already been established as a tool in search and rescue, allowing searchers to cover more ground for more hours than traditional methods, and keeping searchers safe.  The River Search and Rescue program will test the safety and capability of using drones during river rescue missions “in an effort to improve response times and reduce exposure of both first responders and victims to dangerous conditions during river rescue operations,” says the press release.

River Search and Rescue“Through this CONOP, we aim to implement rescue operations supported by drone technology within the Truckee River region in the near future,” Reno Fire Chief Dave Cochran said. “Water exposure, especially in moving-water incidents, is extremely dynamic and dangerous for victims and first responders. The use of drones will increase our safety and increase our efficiency. I’m thrilled that we’re looking for an innovative approach to help improve our river response.”

The program has a significant benefit to the City of Reno and the community, improving the outcomes of river search and rescue – and a benefit for the drone industry, helping to develop and standardize safe practices for drone usage throughout the United States.

“The City of Reno has been a leader in the UAS community, and this demonstration is another example of the application of these technologies for public benefit,” said Jon Damush, CEO of Iris Automation. “Our priority at Iris is the safe integration of UAS into the airspace, and we are excited to continue our partnership with the City of Reno and the FAA to extend these capabilities to the Fire Department and First Responders.”

The FAA’s UAS IPP is winding down, but this project will continue.  “Initial BVLOS flight operations will take place at the Carson River location with future testing to be conducted over the Truckee River as soon as next year,” says the release.



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