Austin-Travis County EMS (ATCEMS) is excited to announce the creation of a Public Safety Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Program. The team name “SPARTAN” is an acronym for Special Projects – Aerial Recon – Transport – Aid – Navigation.
The SPARTAN Team currently has sixteen (16) qualified UAS Pilots who hold FAA Part 107 certificates and have completed a comprehensive 45-hour public safety Remote Pilot in Command (rPIC) Academy that included day and night time training evolutions.
Our UAS fleet includes three (3) Autel Robotics EVO II Dual drones that are equipped with a FLIR Boson 640×512 Thermal Cameras.
This technology can be used to locate lost or injured patients, assist in locating fire ground hot-spots not readily visible by ground personnel, and provide pilot navigation assistance during low-light and nighttime operations.
Additionally, the program possesses 12 other aircraft with varying capabilities – giving us a total fleet of 15 aircraft. Currently, ATCEMS District Command 6 is completely staffed by qualified pilots who are available to respond with UAS 24/7 to support our responders and the community – with plans to bring a 2nd Command District into the program later this year for the expansion of our immediate response capabilities.
The SPARTAN program possesses a Certificate of Authorization (COA) issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) with public safety specific flight waivers and infrastructure that is compatible with other regional public safety partners for inner agency operability.
The COA allows ATCEMS qualified rPICs to operate on government missions under Part 91 in both controlled and uncontrolled airspace throughout the Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG) region, with the ability to receive an Emergency COA to operate anywhere in the nation if necessary.
The team will assist our medics and other public safety personnel and agencies on missions such as Search & Rescue, Mass Casualty/Large Incident management, Medic Safety/Overwatch, Special Event Crowd Monitoring, Fire Support, and EOC/Emergency Management Support.
This program’s next phase will include autonomous UAS delivery of critical medical equipment like AEDs and the potential for delivery of life-saving medications to the patient’s side on 9-1-1 calls. To date, ATCEMS SPARTAN has already been utilized in real-world operations including six (6) public safety missions and two (2) Emergency Operations Center (EOC) support missions totaling over 45 hours of flight time.