Fotokite Launches Firefighter Situational Awareness System in Partnership with Pierce Manufacturing

INDIANAPOLIS, IN—Fotokite recently announced the launch of a new product for firefighters in partnership with Pierce Manufacturing. Pierce Situational Awareness Systems by Fotokite are actively tethered unmanned aerial systems (UAS) integrated directly into public safety vehicles and firefighter operations. The systems provide persistent aerial situational awareness with the single push of a button, no piloting necessary. Pierce Fotokite systems are already installed and operational in major fire departments across the U.S., including integration into Pierce fire apparatus, frontline command vehicles, and fire chiefs’ SUVs. These systems have been used by firefighters in operations such as live fire response, search and rescue missions, and structure collapse inspection.

The Pierce Situational Awareness System by Fotokite has been specifically designed and built from the ground up specifically to help in first responder operations. Pierce Fotokite systems do not require piloting at any point in operation and are the only UAS authorized by the FAA to be used by all public safety teams without requiring pilot licenses or individual authorizations to fly. This reduces the burden on fire departments to train members on every team to operate traditional drones and maintain expensive pilot programs—Fotokite technology can be leveraged by every first responder department in the U.S., today. Pierce Fotokites deliver automatic and reliable hands-off launching, flight, and landing from a small vehicle-integrated enclosure while also providing 24+ hour continuous flight endurance and secure data delivery via tether, rather than wireless data transmission dependency. Thermal and visual video are streamed directly to first responder laptops, tablets, and even remote command centers to gain instant situational awareness capabilities. The lightweight, heavy-duty flight frame is designed for robust long-term operation in demanding environments and is IP55 rated to fly in rain, snow, and windy conditions.

No-hassle use of Pierce Situational Awareness Systems by Fotokite follows the recent HR 302 FAA Reauthorization specific to Public Actively Tethered UAS, which came into effect as of April 4, 2019. Pierce Fotokite technology uniquely fit the criteria defining Actively Tethered UAS today, allowing first responders to gain aerial situational awareness without requiring a piloting license or a certificate of authorization or waiver (i.e. COA or Pt. 107).

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