For the first time, a long-range drone was sent 1,550 miles (2,500 km) for a mission that helped Verizon telecom inspect communications, as cellular infrastructure, essential to rescue forces, and could have been critically destroyed by fire erupted in northwestern Washington state.
The Federal Aviation Administration granted a permit to operate the drone, without eye contact, (BVLOS) in order to monitor the spread of the fires, that Broke out in September and burned more than 24,000 acres under mandatory evacuation orders.
The drone, developed by the Israeli company Percepto, was operated by Skyward, a subsidiary of Verizon, and was supervised by an operator sitting at his home in Alaska, at an air distance of 2500 km. The Israeli drone flew into the heart of the fire area, where humans were in a danger zone.
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Taking advantage of its resistance to heavy heat and wind conditions the drone provided real-time photos and videos that allowed rescue workers to see the situation and predict the continued spread of the fire.
Equipped with the ability to photograph even in poor visibility and dark conditions the drone remotely navigated to its target. Percepto’s drone analyze the images and identify different types of activity such as people in the area, or high temperatures.
Ariel Avitan, VP of Percepto, said that approval of the American authorities is an expression of trust in Israeli technology and the ability to operate it safely from a long-distance and are known for their meticulousness of disasters, weather damage, or security incidents.
Based in Modiin with offices in the US and Australia, Percepto was founded by Dor Abuhatzira, Sagi Blonder, Raviv Raz, and Ariel Avitan. The company has 75 employees and is in the process of recruiting additional employees.