Monday, October 14, 2013

Notes on project after talking to firefighters

I talked to the firefighters about our project and learned a lot of very useful information

1) From the firefighters perspective, this type of technology is not yet being actively pursued.  They are working on a project to build a Quadcopter drone for their HazMat group.  As far as Adam Brotzman knows they were the first fire dept in the country getting one.  He is in HazMat.  The copter has a High Def camera on it and that is all.  Their biggest concern on that project was that none of the firefighters had any experience flying RC planes, so they are working to make it as easy as possible to fly.  The interface is a map on a tablet.  They click on the map where they want it to go, and it goes there.

2)  The features Adam thought would be useful would be:
A) Live weather (temperature, wind speed, wind direction, barometric pressure.  Weather at 3 altitudes (10 feet, 50 feet, and 200 feet) is apparently very helpful for them
C) Being able to quickly see "over the next ridge" to see whats there and gauge the situation there.  Seeing how much fuel there is for the fire is their primary concern.
D) He was very interested in the idea of using the drone as a communication relay when they were in a canyon or mountainous area where communications were difficult.

3) Al DiBenedette liked the idea of having the feed from the drone by more than a single person.  Al is one of the people who direct people fighting forest fires, and he felt it would help him make the decisions he needs to make.

4) We talked about fire spotting towers and the tech they use is quite old.  Each tower that sees smoke from a fire has a big wheel to measure the angle to the fire (from north).  The angle from 2 or 3 towers allows you to triangulate the location of a fire.  It might be useful for the towers to be able to send a drone to get immediate info on the fire as it is forming

1 comment:

  1. The reason they were pursuing a drone for hazmat was because funding was available for it as opposed to other areas they might need it. I believe he said that the Dept of homeland security was funding the HazMat drone. Law enforcement is getting access to drones much faster again because of funding.

    Restrictions on drones by the FAA did not appear to be an issue for them