Fortem Technologies has announced it has completed the first phase of the US Department of Transportation’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program (UAS IPP) in North Carolina. As part of the program, Fortem is conducting tests to monitor the airspace around WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh, tracking manned flights alongside the UPS Delivery Corridor, delivering medical test samples safely and quickly via unmanned drones.
According to the company:
“Fortem was able to accurately and consistently track incoming medical helicopter traffic, providing real-time alerts to AirMap, an unmanned service supplier, thereby helping to enable a safe and secure airspace for flight. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Division of Aviation partners, including WakeMed Hospital, are testing drone operations that will soon go beyond a pilot’s visual line of sight (BVLOS), to provide efficient and safe drone operations with the ultimate goal of helping to improve healthcare access for all North Carolinians.
“Fortem Technologies will continue to provide situational awareness of potential collisions with manned aircraft for the UAS operators in the WakeMed area. Using Fortem’s award-winning TrueView™ radar, and SkyDome® software system, Fortem ensures that UAS operations and drone deliveries do not interfere with medical helicopters flying in and out of the area and can alert drone operators of any potential non-cooperative aircraft in the vicinity.
“By monitoring the airspace and creating a service that ensures the safe use of unmanned air vehicles, we will expand from these initial drone deliveries to greater geographical reach and more sophisticated roles for unmanned drones,” said Adam Robertson, CTO of Fortem Technologies. “With Fortem’s ability to offer real time data and analysis of airborne threats, we can start to see additional support for things like search and rescue operations, first responders, and increased shipments of critical supplies to remote locations. None of this can happen without the trust that our systems are effective and safe.”
“Ensuring the safety of manned aviation is paramount for unmanned flight operations, yet successful coordination of the two is not an easy task,” said Basil Yap, UAS Program Manager, NCDOT. “The phase one testing has shown promising results and we are hopeful the phase two operations will provide the information we need to receive a beyond-visual-line-of-sight waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration.”
Fortem will continue to provide situational awareness and secure the airspace into the next phase of the program. NCDOT, as part of the USDOT UAS IPP, will continue to support its partners’ operations at WakeMed throughout the year until the program’s conclusion in October. Fortem is working with the NCDOT’s other partners to move operations at the WakeMed campus to beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BLVOS), and ultimately expand operations to additional WakeMed facility in the Raleigh area.
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