UAS to be used during Canberra’s bushfire season


According to the Canberra Times, UAS will be used in Canberra, Australia to fly into bushfire zones this season, and help maintain phone services.

​In the past, it took three or four people, along with cherrypickers, to inspect a damaged tower. Australian telecommunications and media company Telstra says that its UAS will monitor and inspect telecommunications towers this year, which will allow affected services to be restored exponentially faster than previous methods used.

According to NSW Rural Fire Service Inspector Chris Allen, the Canberra area experienced its driest July ever, which created potentially hazardous bushfire conditions.

Allen says that UAS will be a helpful asset for emergency services fighting fires in the region.  

“[Phone services], other than our radio network, are one of our major sources of emergency warning to the community through our SMS system, so it is vital,” Allen says.

“Assets are our main point of protection, other than life or property, so we'll be looking towards getting our assets up and going as soon as possible to assist the community through the impact of fire.”

Telstra area manager for the ACT and Southern NSW Chris Taylor says that UAS will allow the company to “quickly and efficiently monitor telecommunications towers and replace any damage as quickly as possible.”

Taylor adds that last year, UAS were used in the Central West bushfires, which allowed services to be restored “up to two days earlier than otherwise would have been possible.”

“With the drone technology we can send a drone up into the air with these sophisticated cameras and get some great real time vision and understand what's going on a lot more quickly,” Allen says.

“Timing is critical, what this drone technology does enable us to do is utilize technology to efficiently and effectively monitor our plant and make the right decisions to get things restored as quickly as possible.”