Macon-Bibb County, GA pays $5.7 million for emergency UAVs

By Luke Geiver | July 16, 2015

Olaeris, an unmanned aircraft vehicle manufacturer that has designed an encapsulated multirotor platform for emergency response monitoring, will soon be part of a Georgia County’s 911 emergency response efforts. Macon-Bibb, Georgia, and Olaeris have agreed to implement a fleet of AEVA (aerial electric visual assistant) UAVs to support all Sheriff’s Departments, Fire Departments, 911 and Emergency Management Agency response services.

Under the $5.7 million agreement between the County commission and Olaeris, the company will provide a fleet of UAVs along with a 5-year services agreement that covers scramble encrypted bandwidth, data management, training, certification, maintenance, repair and a 5-year unlimited warranty.

The company describes its UAV as a flying-saucer shaped platform. According to Olaeris, upon an incoming 911 call, the AEVA drone automatically launches, flies beyond line of sight and robotically navigates to the incident without human assistance. The platform then transmits a live, scramble encrypted video to ground responders (police cars or ambulances).

“We’re very excited about partnering with Macon-Bibb and establishing a long-term relationship with the county,” Ted Lindsley, CEO of Olaeris, said. “After meeting with state leaders from 23 states and over 100 cities to prioritize early integration sites, we found the leadership in Macon to be forward thinking, technology savvy and an ideal location to launch early AEVA operations.”

Macon, Georgia, Mayor Robert Reichert said that Macon-Bibb’s Commission is focused on improving public safety and giving responders the best new technology to do so with.

In addition to this partnership announcement, Olareis expects to announce two more agreements it has formed with other regions within the Eastern U.S. this summer.

According to the company, AEVA was engineered to undergo conventional U.S. FAA air worthiness type class certification similar to a helicopter or jet.

The company performed testing at the NASA Ames Research Center wind tunnel along with the University of Maryland’s Glenn L. Martin wind tunnel. The test revealed that its design produced more thrust than larger, conventional open rotors. The platform also contains onboard avionics that the company said resembles those found in a commercial jet. For avoidance collision, the platform has sensors and onboard processors. “Unlike a conventional helicopter, her (AEVA) remote human pilot can look around, above, below and behind the aircraft thanks to an array of onboard cameras,” the company said.

To charge the system, the removal of a battery or plugging in step is not necessary. The company has designed a climate controlled charging port. The system can fly for roughly one hour up to 10,000 feet.