Working for the World Bank on Project UAV4Resilience and with the assistance of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT), V-TOL Aerospace was placed in a unique position to conduct advanced hi-resolution survey operations using V-TOL designed & manufactured GosHawk II drone technology over the Kingdom of Tonga before (2017) and after the category 4 cyclone Gita event (Feb 18). The Gita survey was safely completed in 5 days resulting in 300km² of hi-resolution survey data while operating in integrated/shared airspace. The World Bank has reported that this type of drone operation has never been conducted to this extent under these conditions before.
The following provides a sample and insight into what can now be provided as a disaster management & recovery “tool” for first responders in the field, NGOs, Government Agencies, the public, Insurance & Banking organisations, etc, in a matter of days:
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V-TOL VEURON™, a technology developed with the support of the QLD Government’s Advance QLD initiative, is V-TOL’s onboard robot machine vision & learning Aa (Advanced Automation) & Ai (Artificial Intelligence) capability. An example of how the VEURON™ technology will automate damage assessment reporting will be made available shortly.
V-TOL’s air deployable survey teams have demonstrated how an effective Disaster Management & Recovery capability can now be delivered in a matter of days in most locations globally. In collaboration with technology partner NearSat, V-TOL believes this capability can potentially be delivered anywhere within hours.
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V-TOL has been approved by CASA and RAAF Amberley to operate BVLOS up to 2,000 ft AMSL. The purpose of this approval is to enable V-TOL & technology partner NearSat to collect scientific test data for modelling high altitude operations.
Category 4 Cyclone Gita hit Tonga in February this year with winds up to 233km/h. Gita was reported as the worst cyclone to pass so close to Tonga in 60 years causing widespread and severe damage. Emergency response teams struggled to assess damage around the capital on the main Island of Tongatapu. As a result, the Brisbane based V-TOL Aerospace Disaster Response Team was deployed by the World Bank with the support of the Australian Government with their GosHawk II UAVs to survey the Tongatapu Island Group. The GosHawk UAVs were launched from the Fua’amotu International Airport to map the main island as rapidly as possible.
ADS-B mandatory for unrestricted Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS)
Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcasting (ADS-B) was mandatory for the unrestricted integrated BVLOS operations during the Gita Response. The uAvionix ping20s transponder and FYXnav-B GPS ADS-B solution installed on the GosHawk facilitated real-time monitoring by Air Traffic Control (ATC) at Fua’amotu International Airport Tonga, the V-TOL team on Tonga, V-TOL HQ in Brisbane, commercial jets and Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand. The ADS-B output was used by ATC as the primary means of separating commercial aircraft movements from the uAvionix ADS-B equipped UAVs when operating BVLOS from the tower.
2,500km of survey operations were flown 1000ft AMSL in just 5 days
At the completion of flight operations conducted by V-TOL:
- 100% of Tongatapu was imaged (approximately 300km²)
- 2,500km of BVLOS survey operations were flown 1000ft AMSL
- 15km BVLOS range was reached from the V-TOL Team
- 500GB of data was collected and processed