Insitu Pacific, the Australia-based subsidiary of Insitu Inc., today announced it recently conducted a successful demonstration for the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) using the ScanEagle unmanned aircraft system (UAS).
The demonstration took place in January over the Wollemi National Park, 150 km northwest of Sydney, where fires have burned more than 35,000 hectares of bushland since December 2013. Insitu Pacific successfully demonstrated the operational utility of ScanEagle to monitor and report on the movement of the fire front at night – a task rarely undertaken at low altitude by manned aircraft due to the high risk factors involved.
The success of the trial is attributed to a collaborative effort between Insitu Pacific and General Dynamics Mediaware. Insitu Pacific employed General Dynamics Mediaware’s next-generation video exploitation system, D-VEX, to stream full-motion video imagery alongside geo-location information in near real time. Fire commanders used the imagery to assess the movement of the fire front and pinpoint the locations of high-risk spot fires well ahead of the front itself. As a result, response assets were mobilized more quickly and safely, because their position relative to the location and movement of the fire could be actively monitored from the emergency services headquarters.
“This technology is a game changer for emergency services and first responders,” said Insitu Pacific Managing DirectorAndrew Duggan. “We have proven systems that offer substantial capability advantages in this domain and will also enhance the safety of the personnel responding to an emergency. This event was a great success and the main objective now is to continue to work with CASA to enable flexible airspace approvals for various emergency response scenarios.”
“Combining the imagery captured by the ScanEagle with D-VEX’s next-generation video analytics provided the New South Wales Rural Fire Service with enhanced situational awareness and real-time actionable intelligence to extend the capabilities of firefighting services around the clock,” said General Dynamics Mediaware Chief Technology Officer Kevin Moore. “We see this demonstration as the start of a new type of fire response that has the potential to save agencies time, money and most importantly, lives.”
Insitu Pacific, located in Queensland, Australia, has provided UAS services to defence, civil and commercial interests in theAsia-Pacific region since June 2009. Insitu Pacific is a subsidiary of U.S.-based Insitu Inc.
Insitu Inc., located in Bingen, Wash., is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company. Insitu designs, develops and manufactures UAS and provides associated services for commercial and military applications. With a small footprint and expeditionary focus for both land and sea operations, the company has a family of UAS solutions that serves the needs of the global defence community. To date, these systems have accumulated more than 785,000 operational hours and 97,000 sorties. For more information, visit www.insitupacific.com.
Australian-based General Dynamics Mediaware, part of General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, is a leading global provider of digital video technology. Please visit www.mediaware.com.au for more information about the benefits of standards-compliant compressed video and audio processing in an all-digital network.