Government of Canada Awards Drone Airspace Management System Contract to Kongsberg Geospatial

A small UAV is shown surveying the movement of a forest fire. The EOAMS would allow first responders to deploy drones at disaster scenes without endangering other emergency response aircraft or commer

Securing and managing the airspace around disaster scenes or at big public events is becoming a real concern for all levels of government.

Kongsberg Geospatial, an Ottawa-based developer of geospatial software technology, announced today that Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) has awarded them a contract to produce an Emergency Operations Airspace Management System (EOAMS) for evaluation by Canadian government agencies for safely managing drones at emergency and disaster scenes.

The contract was awarded via a competitive request for proposals under the Canadian Safety and Security Program in a project for Defense R&D Canada’s Centre for Security Science.

The EOAMS is a portable display that interfaces with a variety of local sensors, including RADAR and Automatic Dependence Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) receivers to give a clear picture of the airspace around disaster areas. It is intended to allow first responders to safely use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to survey the area, without risking collision with other emergency aircraft, including water bombers or rescue and police helicopters.

The system would also provide a warning to first responders if unapproved UAVs approach the area – providing a degree of protection against what is becoming an increasing problem with the proliferation of small consumer camera drones at fires and accident scenes.

“Securing and managing the airspace around disaster scenes or at big public events is becoming a real concern for all levels of government,” said Paige Cutland, IRIS program director for Kongsberg Geospatial. “Even if a drone operator isn’t acting with malicious intent, they have the potential to cause considerable harm if, for example, they fly into the path of an air ambulance. We need effective tools to help prevent this while also allowing legitimate UAV operations to be safely integrated into the emergency airspace. ”

The new EOAMS will be based on Kongsberg Geospatial’s IRIS UAS™ airspace visualization system. The IRIS…

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