New Jersey Partners Deploy UAVs to Help Restore Communication in Houston

The New Jersey Innovation Institute’s (NJII) Defense and Homeland Security Innovation Lab has been working with New Jersey-based Maser Consulting PA to conduct unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)-based inspections of cell towers in Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

NJII explains that maintaining telecommunication infrastructure during and after the hurricane has been essential to the communications of emergency personnel and the peace of mind of people within the affected area.

“We have teamed with Maser Consulting to have two crews on-site in Houston to conduct video inspections for several major telecommunications companies,” says Retired General Bill Marshall, NJII’s assistant vice president of government affairs for defense and homeland security.

The drone crews performed initial site assessments to determine accessibility to cell towers so that telecommunication companies could assign repair crews where the most impact could be made. The UAV teams have also acquired aerial data to assess the condition of a cell tower site and provide up-to-date information to streamline repairs. Once the repairs have been made, the UAV crews can return to the site and access the quality of the repairs to give telecommunication clients confidence that their equipment is operating at an optimum level.

Rob Dannenberg, Maser Consulting’s chief pilot and director of UAV services, adds, “Our UAS flight teams are subject-matter experts and are FAA Part 107-certified. To ensure the comprehensive inspection of the towers, we utilize professional-grade UAS flight platforms combined with advanced sensors and data processing. This delivers timely, high-accuracy data to clients – enabling them to make better informed decisions rapidly.”

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