In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the New Jersey Innovation Institute Defense & Homeland Security Innovation Lab is working with engineering firm Maser Consulting to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles to inspect cell towers in Houston.
“We have teamed with Maser Consulting to have two crews on site in Houston to conduct video inspections for several major telecommunications companies,” NJII assistant VP, government affairs, defense & homeland security and retired general Bill Marshall said in a press release. “We worked closely with Maser to secure the UAV pilots, create the inspection schedule and are actively monitoring progress, which so far has been excellent.”
To maintain the telecommunications infrastructure necessary to support emergency and recovery services in the area, drones are canvassing the conditions of the cell towers to inform repair crews which sites are in most need of work and which work will result in the greatest help to the community’s wireless connectivity. In addition, the drones are collecting up-to-date data on repair sites to streamline the process.
Information gathered by drones is also used to keep crews safe. Video can determine if a site is accessible or safe to approach, such as how flood waters may prevent work from occurring or could pose a threat to workers. After repairs are made, the video also allows crews to review and monitor the repairs.
“Our UAS flight teams are subject matter experts and are FAA Part 107 Certified. To ensure the comprehensive inspection of the towers, we utilize professional grade-UAS flight platforms combined with advanced sensors and data processing,” Maser Consulting chief pilot & director of UAV services Rob Dannenberg said. “This delivers timely, high-accuracy data to clients enabling them to make better informed decisions rapidly.”