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NOAA UAS Program Briefs at Drone World Expo in San Jose, CA

Michael Kratsios, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer, The White House Keynotes at the Conference

The NOAA UAS Program briefed the 2017 Drone World Expo in San Jose, CA October 2nd to 5th.  Thought leaders, industry experts and end-users gathered at Drone World Expo in the heart of Silicon Valley to present real-world solutions to business and environmental challenges.  UASs have provided the capability to capture data for applications including imaging, photography, video and film, precision agriculture, construction, security and public safety, mapping and surveying, inspections, research and conservation, communications, parcel delivery, humanitarian efforts and more.  These operations were explained and demonstrated at this one-of-a-kind gathering.  The conference covered UAS strategies, platforms and payloads, data collection, safety, security, privacy, the current regulatory environment, international lessons learned, and the impact drones are having on Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT).

NOAA’s Todd Jacobs and John “JC” Coffey were invited to share the NOAA UAS Program’s strategic vision and execution from requirements capture to “transition to operations” with NASA and USCG counter-parts. NOAA’s recent UAS successes in the focusing on hazardous weather, maritime and Polar surveys included:

  • SHOUT’s use of Global Hawk for Hurricane Research & Satellite Gap Mitigation
  • Puma UAS deploys onboard from US Coast Guard Cutter’s (Icebreaker) Healy and Polar Star for marine monitoring, search & rescue and oil spill detection with ONR, AeroVironment.
  • 2018 Arctic Mission coordination across numerous agency, academia and industry.
  • NWS’ River Forecasting Center Rapid Response with UAS for Yukon River Watch supporting the Targeted Autonomous Insitu Sensing and Rapid Response (TAISRR) CONOPS.
  • SBIR Phase III “Transition to Operation” of Aurora Flight Science’s Centaur for Grav-D survey.
  • UAS use for satellite calibration and validation.
  • Other platform coordination including Aerosonde, and Flexrotor.

John “JC” Coffey highlighted that, “Due to the numerous national natural disasters, UAS deployments have expanded greatly for emergency and rapid response.  The benefits were well documented as this was the first time there has been extensive deployment of drones to help first responders. There was extensive cross-agency collaborative effort with over 300 emergency FAA approvals to expedite operations which included beyond line-of-operations across the Country.”

Fig 1.