The Hamilton County, Tennessee, Sheriff's Office unveiled its new drone command vehicle, which is meant to increase connectivity while drone operators are working in terrain where connectivity is typically made more difficult.  -  Photo: Hamilton County Sheriff's Office

The Hamilton County, Tennessee, Sheriff's Office unveiled its new drone command vehicle, which is meant to increase connectivity while drone operators are working in terrain where connectivity is typically made more difficult.

Photo: Hamilton County Sheriff's Office

The Unmanned Aerial Systems Team for the Hamilton County, Tennessee, Sheriff's Office recently unveiled its new joint Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Command Vehicle (UCV).

The vehicle will allow drone pilots the ability to work from multiple workstations in a controlled environment. The purpose-built vehicle is designed to provide internet capabilities necessary to operate all equipment and software and is powered by an onboard inverter system that provides the vehicle with self-sustaining power, according to a post on the Sheriff's Office Facebook page.

“Since its implementation in 2016, the Hamilton County UAS Team has proven to be an invaluable asset assisting law enforcement and search and rescue efforts throughout our community and our region," Hamilton County Sheriff Austin Garrett said. "This new command vehicle represents a significant investment in our county’s UAS capabilities and furthers our commitment to using drone technology to respond more quickly to a variety of incidents and threats. This is especially important in search and rescue operations when time is critical."

The new UAS Command Vehicle represents a combined capital investment of over $168,000 between both the Sheriff's Office and Emergency Management Agency.

Increasing Connectivity

Due to the county's terrain, the UAS pilots often operate in a decreased or intermittent signal strength environment. The new UCV is equipped with a 15-foot mast, improving connectivity with the aircraft, allowing pilots to fly further and safer than before. The UCV is equipped with a large viewing station at the rear of the vehicle for administrators to observe live footage of missions for critical decision making. The command center will also allow pilots to operate in a safer, distraction free environment.

“The addition of this new cutting-edge technology located in a mobile vehicle, will allow the drone team to provide advanced aerial search along with other enhanced safety related missions,” Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency Director Chris Adams said.

Hamilton County's drone command vehicle allows operators to view current and past flights, stream live flights, and process imagery on-scene all awhile continuing ongoing missions.  -  Photo: Hamilton County Sheriff's Office

Hamilton County's drone command vehicle allows operators to view current and past flights, stream live flights, and process imagery on-scene all awhile continuing ongoing missions.

Photo: Hamilton County Sheriff's Office

The UCV allows operators to view current and past flights, stream live flights, and process imagery on-scene all awhile continuing ongoing missions.

UAS Team by the Numbers

To date, Hamilton County's UAS team has flown more than 668 flights, traveled approximately 475 miles, and spent more than 100 hours in the air conducting various operational missions.  -  Photo: Hamilton County Sheriff's Office

To date, Hamilton County's UAS team has flown more than 668 flights, traveled approximately 475 miles, and spent more than 100 hours in the air conducting various operational missions.

Photo: Hamilton County Sheriff's Office

The flight call volume for the UAS team has increased year to year since its conception in 2016. To date, the team has flown more than 668 flights, traveled approximately 475 miles, and spent more than 100 hours in the air conducting various operational missions. The missions have included 56 search and rescue missions, 14 crime scene investigations, 13 mapping flights, 25 tactical support flights, 23 felony apprehensions, and supported other agencies 86 times. The majority of the team’s missions include looking for dangerous suspects, missing or lost individuals, and mapping incident scenes, the Sheriff's Office reported.

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