One of the key benefits of sUAS is that they help isolate the human element from dangerous environments - whether a soldier who needs to see over the next hill, a police officer facing a barricaded suspect, or a field worker who needs to perform a detailed inspection of potentially hazardous equipment. From a distance up to 3km, Scout operators can receive and simultaneously share live aerial imaging or other sensor data.
A recent spectacular demonstration of this role for sUAS occurred after the biggest remote controlled plane crash in history - as the Discovery Channel investigated what happened during and after the crash landing of a Boeing 727.
On Discovery Channel's CURIOSITY: PLANE CRASH the Aeryon Scout was first on-scene after impact to inspect the aircraft and surrounding area before sending in ground personnel. Within minutes of the crash Scout was live streaming video of the scene - revealing that one of the jet turbines was actually still spinning and presented an imminent risk for explosion. Immediate scene intelligence from the air prevented exposing human lives to danger, and improved decision making, which in this case meant streaming water into the turbine to slow its rotation and prevent a catastrophic failure.
An extreme example? Perhaps, but it provides an excellent demonstration of how sUAS can provide an immediate aerial perspective of any situation, improve response coordination and decision making, and provide ongoing monitoring and situational awareness. Consider other applications such as fire management (watching for structural weaknesses or hotspots, and providing ongoing monitoring of teams and individuals on the ground), HAZMAT or CBRNE (inspecting contaminated sites or damaged equipment to assess hazards and create a repair plan), or tactical officers responding to a hostage situation.
We've seen lots of high profile real-world examples in the last few months alone, such as the sUAS Storm Response Study in partnership with NMSU, FEMA and the FAA - using the Scout to build aerial maps of affected areas and inspect damaged equipment to help speed up critical service restoration. Another example was NOAA researchers deploying Scout for a Steller Sea Lion wildlife study in the Bering Sea - which meant researchers could stay safely onboard their research vessel (and avoid bothering the sea lions!).
The Discovery Channel episode PLANE CRASH is the season 2 premier of CURIOSITY - and the Scout is featured at approximately the one hour mark. Original air dates will be Thursday, October 11 2012 at 21:00 GMT in the UK, and Sunday, October 28 2012 at 21:00 ET/PT in Canada. The episode has already aired in the US and is online on the Discovery Channel US website. Please consult your local listings.