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Precision Agriculture Summit 2018

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UAS Being Tested for Natural Disaster Relief Efforts

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An unmanned aircraft system is being tested in North Dakota to see if it is capable of helping with natural disaster relief efforts.

Thanks to a half million-dollar spending budget from tech company Elbit Systems and utility holding company Xcel Energy, the UAS, Elbit’s Hermes 450, is being tested to see if it can provide assistance to crews that are working in different areas affected by disasters.

“When you have a storm, when you have fires, getting crews on the ground to identify damage is flat-out dangerous,” President and CEO of Elbit Systems of America Raanan Horowitz said via an article on SFGate.com.

The Hermes 450 is a 20-foot long UAS that can fly up to 17 hours, allowing it to cover 40,000 acres in an hour before needing to refuel. The hope is that because of the size and length of time that the UAS can fly, it will be able to collect more data, which will help when trying to get crews, material and equipment to the right locations.

“The bottom line is, when you look at the size and the areas that you are trying to cover, when you look at the resolution, when you look at using sensors that can yield data that is actually usable, this is the way to go,” Horowitz said about the Hermes 450.

Tests, which are being conducted through the Xcel Energy test program, are currently examining the UAS performance during a variety of possible emergency situations. The progress of the initial test flights was discussed at the North Dakota UAS Field Day on Monday.

Story written and published by AUVSI News

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