KDOT uses drones for disaster response

KDOT employees demonstrate a drone exercise.
KDOT employees demonstrate a drone exercise.( | KDOT)
Published: Nov. 4, 2020 at 1:36 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Department of Transportation continues its efforts in the national UAS BEYOND program.

The Kansas Department of Transportation says its Division of Aviation completed a field exercise in Rossville to demonstrate the capabilities of drones being used for infrastructure inspections and disaster response.

According to KDOT, bridge inspectors, public safety officials, universities and UAS manufacturers worked together with the department team members on the exercise. It said the Capabilities Exercise showed how drones can be used for the following:

  • save time and money on transportation infrastructure inspections;
  • allow state agencies to examine disaster sites in emergency response situations;
  • and expand economic opportunities through transportation using innovative technologies.

“Safety is our top priority and we seek every opportunity to employ better transportation solutions for citizens across our state,” said Kansas Transportation Secretary Julie Lorenz.

KDOT said in October of 2017, it was chosen as one of nine participants in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program, a three-year program that ended on Oct. 25.

“KDOT was an important partner in the first UAS IPP,” said U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran.  “I look forward to witnessing the future accomplishments of our state in this new program and will continue advocating at the federal level on their behalf.”

According to KDOT, the FAA decided to continue the partnerships to take on remaining UAS integration challenges and further drone research with the BEYOND program. It said it is one of eight participants to continue the effort.

The drone demonstration in Rossville was one of its first events to happen as part of BEYOND, “which will continue to advance the safe integration of drones into our national air space,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

“We appreciate Secretary Chao’s confidence in our team and our exercise last week demonstrates our enthusiasm for achieving the goals of this program,” said Bob Brock, KDOT Director of Aviation.

“We are highly enthused to partner with Kansas as they consistently demonstrate strong leadership in aviation,” said Joe Miniace, Federal Aviation Administration Regional Administrator.

KDOT said there are 44 state agency, university and technology partners have been selected to join its team in their efforts in the BEYOND program.

According to the Department, the current members of its BEYOND team include the following:

  • Aerion Supersonic
  • AeroVironment
  • AgEagle
  • Airmap
  • Alaris
  • Alynix/GBA
  • ATT FirstNet
  • Black and Veatch
  • Evergy
  • FlightSafety International
  • Flytrex
  • Fortem Tech
  • Garmin International
  • Garver
  • Iris Automation
  • Kansas Board of Regents
  • Kansas Bureau of Investigation
  • Kansas Farm Bureau
  • Kansas Department of Agriculture
  • Kansas Department of Commerce
  • Kansas Department of Education
  • Kansas Department of Transportation
  • Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks
  • Kansas Highway Patrol
  • Kansas Sheriff’s Association
  • Kansas State University
  • Kittyhawk
  • Lemasters Group
  • MediGo
  • MissionGo
  • Phase One
  • Pitsco Education
  • Pulse Aero
  • ResilienX
  • Silent Falcon
  • Skydio
  • Textron
  • UAV Factory
  • University of Kansas
  • UPS Flight Forward
  • Verizon
  • Vigilent Inc
  • Wichita State University
  • Zing

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