With Hurricane Harvey barely in the rearview mirror, the nation now sees Irma, a category 5 hurricane squarely in the windshield. As the storm, with 185 MPH winds, appears to be set to barrel up the East Coast, striking Miami Sunday morning, drone companies are finalizing their plans to aid in recovery efforts.
One company, RDF Wireless, an aerial RF site inspection services company, is working with local and state officials in Virginia and North Carolina and FEMA officials, as well as carriers, in regard to providing drone assistance, according to Phil Larsen, president, RDF Wireless. The company is currently pulling pilots from multiple places to make up ten teams, which will be ready to be deployed by Monday.
“We are fairly confident that we will do some preliminary inspection work by this weekend, flying the high value areas, which we will then re-fly after the storm and to see if there was any change,” Larsen said.
RDF Wireless will fly over an area and perform a very detailed analysis of that area, including 3D mapping of the RF coverage area. Then the area flown over again, and any change in the site equipment or RF coverage area is noted down to the granular level. A topographical overlay is used so any changes in the environment and hazards can be detected.
Larsen has more than just wireless towers on his mind. He is also a veteran, firefighter and a swift water rescue technician. If called upon, he will leading a rescue team that could be deployed in boats to help people trapped in their homes during and immediately after the storm.
“If this storm hits massively, we will be able to respond to that, as well. We will do both. My goal is to be prepared with the right people and the right equipment to get it done,” he said.