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U.S. Reno partners with Iris Automation to equip fire dept with drones

The U.S. city of Reno, Nevada have partnered with local drone systems operator, Iris Automation, to conduct life-saving river search and rescue, reports a company press release.

Last week, under the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program (IPP), Iris Automation conducted a drone flight demonstration for the Reno Fire Department of its Casia onboard Detect-and-Avoid (DAA) collision avoidance system, which enables safe beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone operations.

The demo took place in Nevada over the Carson River at Fort Churchill State Historic Park, using a drone integrated with Casia to show how this cutting-edge technology can be used to provide automated situational awareness for drones and their pilots. Technologies like onboard DAA are vital to ensure unmanned craft are safely integrated into the national airspace and able to avoid collisions with manned aircraft.

The River Search and Rescue program will trial the safety and capability of using drones during river rescue missions to improve response times and reduce exposure of both first responders and victims to dangerous conditions during operations.

Reno Fire Chief, Dave Cochran, said, “Through these operations, we aim to implement rescue services supported by drone technology within the Truckee River region. Water exposure, especially in moving-water incidents, is extremely dynamic and dangerous for victims and first responders.” He continued, “The use of drones will increase our safety and increase our efficiency. I’m thrilled that we’re looking for an innovative approach to help improve our river response.”

This program has the potential to increase the survival rate of victims during river rescue operations while helping to develop safe practices for drone usage throughout America.

In May 2018, the City of Reno was selected by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) as one of nine state, local and tribal governments to participate in the FAA UAS IPP. The UAS IPP is working with the nine public-private partnerships to implement and study specific drone applications across America to advance the safe integration of drones into the nation’s airspace.

Jon Damush, CEO of Iris Automation, commented, “Reno is a leader in the UAS community, and this demonstration is another example, where our priority at Iris is the safe integration of UAS into the airspace.”

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