Pushing Drone Capabilities to the Limit at the Nevada UAS Test Site
From autonomous deliveries to drone detection, the Silver State is raising the bar when it comes to unmanned aircraft systems.
From autonomous deliveries to drone detection, the Silver State is raising the bar when it comes to unmanned aircraft systems, or as you may know them, drones.
In the past year, drone operators have been pushing their tech to the limit out at the Reno-Stead Airport's UAS test site.
On Thursday we got a firsthand look at how these operations will eventually save time, money and possibly even lives. The winds were high, so the demonstration was kept short, but emergency personnel and drone operators called the aerial delivery demo a huge success. In the scenario a blood supply was left by a drone for a patient in critical condition.
But this drone delivery to first responders is just one example of how unmanned aircraft technology is advancing. Another case is the creation of defense systems.
"In many cases they can identify the type of drone and what location it's flying in,” said Chris Walach, Director of the Nevada UAS Test Site.
“If you have the authority, you can push a button and you can basically disable the drone,” said Daniel Magy, founder of Citadel.
Citadel's purpose is to take problematic drones out of the sky when they impose a threat to others. Here in northern Nevada, this can be used for wildfires. Last year, a drone forced firefighting aircraft on the Prater fire to land immediately.
"You couldn't have helicopters you couldn't have planes, in the air because they were worried that a drone would either run into them or get sucked into an engine and bring down the aircraft,” said Magy.
Magy says there's a lot of trial and error that goes into creating technology that can stop these problems from occurring. This is why he and other industry leaders are fortunate to have Nevada’s UAS test site right in their backyard.
"There are not a lot of places domestically where we can test drone detection and then eventually mitigation, and I think it's really important that we get in front of the issue” said Magy.
Neither drone deliveries for first responders or detection systems are currently available for use in the state, but officials are hopeful to see these types of services in the next couple of years.