Google wants to test spreader drones to fight fires

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In the United States, scientists working for the giant Google have just made an unusual request to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). They want to test M8A Pro spreader drones from HSE-UAV in order to assess their effectiveness in overcoming bush fires.

Drones to fight the flames

California is arguably the region of North America most affected by bushfires. However, since the 1980s, the size and duration of these incidents have continued to increase. Theend of year episode 2020 in California and several other states has also been particularly serious with the destruction of a total of 8,000 km2 of vegetation, almost eighty times the area of ​​Paris! NASA Earth Observator had even published impressive satellite images, making it possible to understand the scale of the disaster. The organization then underlined the historical character of these fires. Indeed, these had generated a cloud of smoke of such intensity that Europe had also been affected.

Most recently, the Google Research Climate and Energy Group filed a demand with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the agency responsible for civil aviation regulations and controls in the United States, to obtain authorization to test the M8A Pro drone from Homeland Surveillance & Electronics (HSE-UAV). The device in question is a drone whose initial mission is to spray products on farms. However, it could turn into flame soldier drone. In the event of a green light from the FAA, Google should start his first tests in Firebaugh, Fresno County, California.

Credit: HSE-UAV

New FAA Provisions

Alphabet (the parent company of Google) is familiar with drones. Indeed, one of its subsidiaries (Wing) is developing a drone delivery service. Now this one announced at the end of 2019 to be the first company to have the right to make commercial deliveries by drone in the United States. Nevertheless, despite the collaboration of the famous delivery company FedEx, the FAA could now represent a brake.

Indeed, the FAA has recently tightened its regulations. In December 2020, the latter published new provisions concerning the supervision of the use of civilian drones. From now on, each machine must have a electronic license plate. This should make it possible to identify the devices from a distance, but also to secure the country’s airspace. This new vision comes with several constraints to the new flights over residential areas and during the night. Also, receiving approval from this organization to carry out this project could prove to be complicated.

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