Tennessee's Rutherford County to use Vantage Robotics' Snap UAS for commercial ops over people

Rutherford County, Tennessee has received an FAA waiver to conduct commercial UAS operations over people, becoming the first and only county government in the U.S. with this capability. 

The county will utilize Vantage Robotics’ Snap UAS for these operations in both emergency and non-emergency situations. 

“We’re excited at Vantage, both to be continuing to pave new ground for safe and legal UAV use near people as well to see Snap contributing to public safety,” Vantage says. 

This landmark FAA waiver comes a little over a year after the FAA granted CNN a “first-of-its-kind Part 107 waiver” that allows the media organization to fly a small UAS over people. Like Rutherford County, CNN also utilized the Snap UAS. 

“Additionally, we’re pleased to see that the FAA has demonstrated a repeatable waiver process for Vantage to expand our support of additional customers for commercial operations over people,” Vantage adds. 

As part of the waiver application for Rutherford County, Vantage demonstrated the minimal risk involved with flying the Snap UAS over people. Snap is a low-risk option for these types of operations thanks to a combination of the drone’s shrouded rotors, lightweight design, and ability to absorb significant energy on impact thanks to its frangible design.

Rutherford County was interested in improving the effectiveness of its UAS program, which is what ultimately led it to Vantage.  

“Demands of today’s local governments mean we must function in as many scenarios as possible. The ability to safely and appropriately maneuver our aerial assets over and near event personnel or participants gives our program several new possibilities,” explains Brian Robertson, chief information officer for Rutherford. 

“Whether for routine coverage of numerous events such as Main Street’s Jazz Fest in May, Uncle Dave Macon Days in July, or during incidents such as the November 6 tornado, the ability to capture the gravity or details of these events from the unique perspective is a major addition to this public service.”

Below: Vantage Robotics’ Snap drone. Photo: Vantage Robotics