Fortem Technologies enables safe drone delivery of medical supplies in North Carolina

May 14, 2020  - By
Photo: Fortem Technologies

Photo: Fortem Technologies

Fortem Technologies has completed the first phase of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program (UAS IPP) in North Carolina.

As part of the program, Fortem is conducting tests to monitor the airspace around WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh, tracking manned flights alongside the UPS Delivery Corridor, and delivering medical test samples via unmanned drones. Fortem has been using its TrueView radar and SkyDome software system to ensure UAS operations and drone deliveries do not interfere with medical helicopters flying in and out of the area, as well as alert drone operators of any potential non-cooperative aircraft in the vicinity.

According to the company, it was able to accurately and consistently track incoming medical helicopter traffic, providing real-time alerts to Airmap, an unmanned service supplier.

“By monitoring the airspace and creating a service that ensures the safe use of unmanned air vehicles, we will expand from these initial drone deliveries to greater geographical reach and more sophisticated roles for unmanned drones,” said Adam Robertson, CTO of Fortem Technologies. “With Fortem’s ability to offer real time data and analysis of airborne threats, we can start to see additional support for things like search and rescue operations, first responders, and increased shipments of critical supplies to remote locations. None of this can happen without the trust that our systems are effective and safe.”

The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Division of Aviation partners, including WakeMed Hospital, are testing drone operations that will soon go beyond a pilot’s visual line of sight to provide efficient and safe drone operations with the ultimate goal of helping to improve healthcare access for all North Carolinians.

“Ensuring the safety of manned aviation is paramount for unmanned flight operations, yet successful coordination of the two is not an easy task,” said Basil Yap, UAS program manager at NCDOT. “The phase one testing has shown promising results and we are hopeful the phase two operations will provide the information we need to receive a beyond-visual-line-of-sight waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration.”

Fortem will continue to provide situational awareness and secure the airspace into the next phase of the program, the company said. NCDOT, as part of the USDOT UAS IPP, will continue to support its partners’ operations at WakeMed throughout the year until the program’s conclusion in October.

About the Author: Allison Kral

Allison Kral is the former digital media manager for North Coast Media (NCM). She completed her undergraduate degree at Ohio University where she received a Bachelor of Science in magazine journalism from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. She works across a number of digital platforms, which include creating e-newsletters, writing articles and posting across social media sites. She also creates content for NCM's Pit & Quarry magazine, Portable Plants magazine and Geospatial Solutions. Her understanding of the ever-changing digital media world allows her to quickly grasp what a target audience desires and create content that is appealing and relevant for any client across any platform.