The Dutch fire department Twente has purchased an Altura unmanned aerial system (UAS) from Aerialtronics, a UAS designer, producer and servicer also based in the Netherlands.
Twente will now start with an initial trial phase – the results of which will be used to determine the added value of UAS for fire departments in the Netherlands. Based on these findings, the Minister of Security and Justice Ivo Opstelten will decide whether other fire departments in the country could follow suit.
The fire department expects to improve operations by using the Altura to explore fire grounds from above by assessing the origin of the fire with thermal imagery and composing an action plan based on aerial overviews.
Additionally, the UAS could be used proactively by mapping hazardous sites to set an emergency plan in place. Furthermore, the Altura can also carry other sensors, such as a sniffer, which enables unmanned evaluation of toxin levels in the sky.
Twente purchased a basic Altura ATX8 set, consisting of an eight-motor system with a standard 868 Mhz – 2.4 Ghz diversity receiver, which was supplemented by a camera control premium upgrade and an Altura Dupla Vista camera box equipped with a daylight as well as thermal core.
Following the purchase, the fire department completed training, obtained all the required permits and attained the necessary certificates in the last couple of months.
Fire departments in the U.S. are no strangers to UAS applications either: In April, a Texas-based volunteer department acquired three UAS. The next month, a Maryland department purchased three UAS to assist in various operations.