Deploying new technology to protect New Jersey during storms

As the 10th anniversary of Superstorm Sandy approaches, New Jersey embraces new technology to keep its most vital resources running when severe weather hits.

Hurricane Ida submerged parts of the state in September 2021, causing up to $10 billion in damage. Flooding threatens U.S. water infrastructure during storms. Drones were deployed to survey the site.

“With drones, we can put them in the air and see our flood walls, our water pumps are flooded. We are able to tell what assets are in the video stream and be able to inform our operators what they need to know information without them having to go down a dangerous road or go into a boat or anything like that to see it,” said Chris Kahn of American Water.

But flying drones during a disaster requires breaking through regulatory red tape, which is the purpose of a workshop at the National Aerospace Research and Technology Park next to Atlantic City Airport in Egg Harbor town.

“You have new technology that’s worth millions of dollars that can’t actually be deployed because you don’t have policies and procedures that authorize the vehicles to fly, when they fly, how they fly, the operators, who deploys them — things of that nature,” the state Howard Kyle, president of the Aerospace Research and Technology Park, said.

Getting federal- and local-level agencies to agree on the same page before the next Sandy or Ada strike will require planning, officials said.

“It allows people like us to get drones into the air and see places we might not be able to get to anytime soon,” said Mark Pineau, deputy coordinator of the Atlantic County Office of Emergency Management.

“New Jersey American Water, in partnership with State Police, OEMs and the FAA, is deploying technology in multiple ways, leading the way so that we can continue to provide our customers with resilient, safe and affordable water every day, despite serious concerns we see to the weather,” said Mark McDonough, president of American Water of New Jersey.

Simulated emergency drone practice drills allow real-time data to be streamed from utility companies to first responders, OEM coordinators and federal authorities.

Source link