Lone Star UAS Center to provide UAS support following natural disasters in Nueces County, Texas

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After signing an interlocal agreement with Nueces County, Texas, the Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence and Innovation (LSUASC) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi will begin providing UAS support in response to future natural disasters in the county.

​Through the agreement, which was signed on Oct. 31 by Loyd Neal, county judge and emergency management director for Nueces County, the Nueces County Emergency Operations Center will have more support at its disposal when helping with response efforts in the county. 

“Whether it’s another Hurricane Harvey or flooding because of rains in the watershed, with this agreement we will be able to help everyone get back on their feet and provide assistance when an emergency or disaster pops up,” says Tye Payne, operations chief for LSUASC.

“This is a really big win, not just for the county and TAMU-CC but for all the people who live here.”

With the agreement in place, Judge Neal can now call on LSUASC to provide UAS support anytime an emergency is declared. An example of when LSUASC might be called upon is when roads become too treacherous to traverse following events such as floods. In this instance, LSUASC support can be requested to send UAS to determine a safer route for responders.

Under the agreement, LSUASC will also be able to gather video data to evaluate and categorize the severity of damage to buildings and property, even before floodwaters recede.

Additionally, the agreement will allow LSUASC to request a temporary flight restriction from the FAA, to make sure that LSUASC UAS are the only aircraft flying in Nueces County airspace during times of emergency.

“This agreement is a great example of the University making a positive impact on the community by providing our unique services and expertise,” comments Mike Sanders, acting executive director for LSUASC.

“I know this is the kind of partnership President Quintanilla encourages us to form. It’s a partnership that will have a real and lasting impact well beyond the University and the city.”

LSUASC says that the agreement is for one year, and it will automatically be renewed annually for up to five years.