New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) will be testing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) flights in national airspace at the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May, NJ. NJIT is conducting UAS flights over the Atlantic Ocean to test the feasibility of safely integrating drones into the public airspace and to assess the research and operational capabilities of several data-collecting sensors aboard the craft. The flights will include a weather sensor to gather information on atmospheric conditions and devices with mapping, communications relay, and high-definition video capabilities.
Broadly defined, NJIT’s mission is to enhance the country’s homeland security and emergency management capabilities. A primary goal is to develop drone-borne weather sensors that can predict where a major storm will make landfall as many as two days before existing technology now permits. Communications relay devices are designed to function as “flying cell towers” capable of relaying calls and data from communities in which telecommunications equipment has been knocked out. Enhanced mapping technology would give emergency responders immediate information on damage caused by major storms such as Hurricane Sandy.