Woot Tech is passionate about the promotion and progress of unmanned systems and vehicles, and innovating in autonomous vehicle systems and its related fields is our core business. We believe that innovation is something innate, in the same way that being an actor or player can be. So, it is best to start early. Even before you graduate, Woot Tech wants to ignite the spark of unmanned innovation in the brightest and most enterprising young minds.
In our Internship Program, which accepts students around the year, we give students hands-on experience of the entire air vehicle design and development process, from drawing board to flight. The interns are an integral and unforgettable part of the team that brings Woot Tech innovation into our next generation of amazing drones. Interns gain technical, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills needed to ensure quality required in the aerospace industry. These engineering internships strengthen the students’ resumes and can turn into full-time jobs for the best amongst the chosen ones.
Promising sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students or even those in a self-studied or online MOOC program in a degree program are invited to explore the opportunity. We also have limited opportunities for school students.
At the end of the program, the interns are part of the growing family that says Woot! every time there is a need to think out of the box.
Awards Winning Undergrad Team lands to intern at Woot Tech
In summer 2021, GIKI’s TEAM INVICTUS were chosen from amongst 300 applicants to intern at Woot Tech. This is a stellar group of young men and women from Pakistan’s top engineering schools. They won multiple prizes at the AIAA Design, Build & Fly Competition 2021 among 115 teams from around the globe are here to learn more about autonomous aircraft. They were exposed to the complete cycle of UAV design cycle and flight testing during their stay. Woot Tech remains committed to supporting unmanned technology and sharing our knowledge base with the next generation. These sophomores, juniors, and senior students of Materials, Mechanical, and Electrical engineering proved their worth in the grueling boot camp at Woot Tech HQ. We wish them all the luck in future competitions.
Madrid, 13 June, 2022. – Firefighting services worldwide are constantly innovating, and the recent trend toward using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) is no exception. Climate change has been a key factor in increasing the risk and extent of wildfires.
Climate change is creating ever warmer, drier conditions, increasing the risk of drought, and a longer season when fire is a real risk in many parts of the world. UAVs, also known as ‘Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) or ‘drones,’ is rapidly becoming a standard tool for use at the scene of a fire; they are a useful addition to the equipment, and many firefighters have come to rely on the information they provide during and after a major fire incident.
UAVs can fly long ranges and equip with high-definition cameras, thermal imaging sensors, and other equipment; they can provide a real-time view of fires on the ground and how they spread. As costs decrease and technology improves, UAV adoption in fire safety is quickly becoming a standard firefighting tool. Especially taking into consideration their ease of deployment.
Uses Of Unmanned Air Vehicles In Firefighting The main uses of UAVs in firefighting today are: Fire scene monitoring and assessment Search And Rescue (SAR) Post-fire analysis and scene documentation
The integration of lightweight and increasingly capable radiometric thermal sensors has revolutionized the amount of information available to a fire scene commander – and information is key when lives are at stake.
Whether planning the ingress route to access a fire in a building or structure or searching for people inside, thermal imagery can “see” through the smoke to locate individuals and hot spots while keeping firefighters safe. When using manned platforms during such operations, highly skilled pilots are required due to the reduced visibility when flying into fire smoke. This risk may be mitigated using uncrewed remotely piloted or automatically commanded platforms, thereby reducing stress and operator fatigue. UAVs can be highly efficient in terms of energy requirements, which becomes essential when fighting big fires requiring long operations. This makes them a relatively eco- friendly technology with a low carbon footprint (see this article).
Case Study. Spanish UME
The Spanish Emergency Military Unit (UME) is a dedicated paramilitary force that was established for missions where intervention is required to preserve the safety of Spanish citizens in cases of natural disaster, high risk, or other special public needs.
Despite its wide remit, the UME mainly focuses on supporting firefighters to tackle wildfire emergencies. The UME has a strength of over 4,000 and uses a wide variety of vehicles, tools, and equipment, including UAVs. Among these UAVs is the Spanish A- 800 helicopter UAV, which UAV Navigation’s flight controller controls. The system has several advanced features, but its main contribution in this role is to provide timely information to commanders on the ground about the development of a wildfire while at the same time reducing the risk to people on the ground.
UAS Firefighting Applications
UAVs have been used for several years to help combat fires. Working in conjunction with firefighters and other public safety professionals, aircraft manufacturers are introducing products with quick start-up functions, high reliability, state-of-the-art thermal sensors, longer flight durations, and – importantly – waterproofing for all-weather and all-condition operation.
The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), data analysis, and drone technology is giving fire departments a new suite of tools to combat fires that are growing in size, frequency, and intensity. UAVs are robust tools that can be operated regardless of weather conditions. These tools are also proving to be very useful to firefighters in the urban environment.
Uncrewed Systems Provide Situational Awareness
A key function of UAS in the firefighting context is to provide situational awareness to commanders during inherently chaotic situations. These aircraft are useful tools for capturing thermal images of the landscape below in real-time; the heat signature can assist commanders in deciding where firefighters should establish fire containment lines, dug either by bulldozer or by hand.
To help firefighting agencies gain situational awareness, UAVs can help protect personnel and enable fast mapping for incident response and post-incident recovery. Interestingly, they can also be used to remotely ignite controlled burns to stop fires from spreading.
How UAVs Are Beneficial For Firefighters
Having eyes above the scene and being able to fly the drone to where the hotspots are allowed crews to fight the fire more efficiently. With greater information from the air, incident command can better direct the crew members on the scene to put out the fire.
The thermal camera provides the essential ability for firefighters to see through the smoke to monitor hotspots. UAS are eyes in the sky for firefighters. They can be an essential firefighting tool for people in the fire services, especially in and around urban centers, where a deadly inferno might occur in high-rise buildings.
UAV And Drones Flight Control Systems
UAVs require flight control software and hardware elements that will allow the aircraft to be controlled remotely, either directly by a pilot or autonomously by an onboard computer. UAV flight dynamics are highly variable and non-linear, so maintaining attitude and stability may require continuous computation and readjustment of the aircraft’s flight control systems.
UAV Navigation flight control solutions contain some beneficial capacities to fight fires.
Among the most important are:
UAV Navigation autopilots may be fully integrated with cameras and provide advanced capabilities. The incorporation of geo-pointing functionalities allows the UAS to automatically follow the target coordinates provided by a camera either automatically (object tracking) or via manual input. This would allow getting a real-time image of a fire source using an automatic loiter of the aircraft over it.
Flight Plan Generator For Tracking Purposes
The operator can easily configure a fight plan to let the UAV cover a designated area most efficiently. This functionality is strategic for Search & Rescue missions and during post-fire analysis.
Automatic Cargo Drop
The user can configure automatic actions on waypoints while planning the mission. The firefighters could schedule automatic events such as switch activations or automatic events.
Flight 3D Visualization
3d vision of the flight to know the orography in real-time. As we mentioned before, the low visibility when flying through the smoke may lead to risky situations and put the mission in danger. UAV Navigation flight control system allows the integration of a 3D visualization tool that helps operators to increase situational awareness and know real- time orography of the terrain.
High Speed – Emergency
Firefighting requires quick actions, so a Flight Control Solution easy to deploy high-speed applications is mandatory. Professional flight controllers such as UAV Navigation include “multiple gains settings” that allow automatic interpolation of gains depending on airspeed and help UAS platforms to be present on the fire location very fast. This would reduce the time to start acting over the fire and prevent its spreading.
All these features make any UAV/UAS a very useful tool to extinguish a fire in the shortest possible time.
Thanks to these and other capabilities in its flight control solutions, UAV Navigation contributes to the evolution of the UAS industry and its applications. Our commitment to the environment focuses not only on our products but also on the way they are produced. We are proud to provide easy-to-deploy tools to society that help sustainably respond to their most basic needs.
UAV Navigation – Grupo Oesía
UAV Navigation is a private company with 100% Spanish capital. It has specialized in the design of guidance, navigation and control solutions (GNC) for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) since 2004. The flight control solutions are characterized by their reliability and robustness, being used on all kinds of platforms and under all weather conditions. These include high-performance tactical unmanned aircraft, VTOL fixed wing platforms, aerial targets, mini-UAVs and helicopters. UAV Navigation is part of the multinational Oesia Group, a Spanish group of companies with more than 45 years experience designing, developing and maintaining cutting-edge technology for the Security, Defense and Aerospace sectors; it also has a long history of work in avionics for national level projects. The Oesia Group is involved in the whole system life cycle (design, development, qualification and maintenance) of critical and non-critical flight systems for Eurofighter EF-2000, A-400M, F-18, C-295, P3-B Orión or MH-60R. The Group is now involved in the most challenging UAV projects, such as the FCAS/NGWS, Eurodrone and SIRTAP.
Oesia Group has over 3,500 employees with 15 offices in Spain and America. It is working on projects in 23 different countries with the main purpose of creating a better, more efficient, safer and sustainable world. UAV Navigation uses a worldwide network of distributors to supply its cutting-edge capabilities around the world.
Fire services across the world are constantly innovating and the recent adoption of drones is no exception.
Today, drones are a routine part of many municipal fire departments as firefighters increasingly take advantage of the unique benefits the right drone can offer at a fire scene.
Why are drones important and how do they matter in firefighting? Read below for some smoke-tinged insights.
Flown in the grizzled hands of FAA Part 107 certificated firefighters, drones are highly capable tools and many firefighters have come to rely on the information they provide during and after a major fire incident.
Bard College’s now-defunct Drone Center last reported in 2020 that nearly 1,600 public safety agencies operate at least one drone. As the costs go down and technology improves, drone adoption in fire safety is quickly becoming a standard firefighting tool.
Drones, At Your Service
An early-adopter firefighter flying the original DJI Phantom in 2013 to get a good aerial look at a fire scene would be astounded at how drones are used today. The main uses of drones in firefighting today are:
Fire scene monitoring and assessment
Search and rescue
Post-fire analysis and scene documentation
The integration of lightweight and increasingly capable radiometric thermal sensors onto drones from companies like FLIR Systems, DJI, Parrot, among others, has provided a revolutionary amount of information to a fire scene commander. And information is key when lives are at stake.
Whether planning the ingress route for a frontal assault on a structure fire or searching for people inside, thermal imagery can “see” through the smoke to locate individuals and hot spots, while keeping firefighters safe.
What used to be received as verbal reports, of say, a wall collapsing over the radio can now be visualized on a high-definition live feed, beamed wherever it’s needed. Locating missing people, fugitives, and even lost pets are also public safety functions that have seen great returns with thermal drone imagery.
Firefighters have also found drones have great utility in wildfire management. The USDA Forest Service is using drones to prescribe fires in controlled burn zones.
This effort to mitigate large wildfires is part of the broader National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy plan set forth by multiple government agencies including the Department of Agriculture and Department of Interior.
Indeed, while a drone launching 400 chemically explosive paintballs injected with glycol into the forest might seem like the dreams (or nightmares) of the future, it is yet another example of the extraordinary versatility of drones.
Even a simple drone with a basic camera can spot a wildfire in the distance and provide timely information.
Today, more sophisticated drones are used to provide thermal hotspot information, map large fire areas and keep firefighting crews safe in the field.
Even after a forest fire, drones can help repopulate a burned area by reseeding large areas of a burn zone from the sky. With nearly 25,000 wildfires year-to-date, 2022 promises to keep drones and their operators very busy.
Post-fire scene analysis
Post-fire-scene analysis has also embraced the use of drones. Drone imagery can quickly document a post-fire scene, allowing forensic teams to begin a coordinated removal of debris for analysis or looking for a point of origin as part of a criminal investigation.
“Using drones after an explosion helps us get an idea of how far debris flew from the epicenter.” says Fire Scene Investigator, Doug Rayburn, of Rayburn Fire Scene Investigation in Orland Park, IL.
“Drones can help us determine how structurally sound a building is. Walls might be leaning and it can be hard to tell with the naked eye from the ground.”
As Rayburn FSI and other members of the public safety community have embraced drone technology, drone manufacturers have taken notice and moved to supply specialized products to fill this demand.
The Market Strikes Back
As the available market for public-safety-focused drones continues to grow, so do the options available to fire departments. While some thermal-equipped drones can be purchased for a few thousand dollars, major players like DJI and Skydio are jumping into public safety drones with all four propellers.
Recent introductions like the DJI Matrice 30 series, Brinc’s Lemur S, and Skydio X2 are tailor-made for use in the public safety sector.
Working in conjunction with firefighters and other public safety professionals, drone manufacturers are introducing products with quick start-up functions, high reliability, state-of-the-art thermal sensors, longer flight durations, and, importantly, waterproofing for all-weather and all-condition applications.
Swappable payload systems continue to iterate and mature. Fire safety crews, today, could potentially deploy a large spotlight instead of a thermal camera on a drone. Or swap to a toxic gas sniffer, a LiDAR sensor, or even a loudspeaker.
Payloads are emerging for AI-driven casualty detection systems. Or, hey, maybe you want to just throw the drone through the window and let it do the talking.
Since breaking out of its infancy after the FAA opened up commercial drone operations under Part 107 in 2016, the enterprise drone market continues to accelerate its offerings of firefighting companions.
Man vs. Machine
The future of drones in firefighting is not adversarial but fantastically cooperative. Drone integration into existing firefighting tactics is a force multiplier for human decision-making. Having the right drone on-site, in the hands of a capable drone pilot, can provide critical information to the on-scene commander when making what, quite literally, can be life or death decisions.
One of the leaders in utilizing drones in firefighting is the New York City Fire Department’s FDNY Robotics Team. No stranger to adopting new tech, such as the two $75k Boston Dynamics “Spot” robots, the FDNY has taken a comprehensive approach to using drones at complex fire scenes (not to mention complex NYC Class B airspace and avigation laws).
This year’s unmanned systems annual Xpontential trade show in Orlando, FL powered by AUVSI, co-awarded the 1st place prize to FDNY Robotics for having “made a significant impact using uncrewed systems to serve in humanitarian or public safety efforts.”
As drone technology, like thermal imagery, continues to trickle down the market, it’s likely we will continue to see municipal and rural fire departments, often absent the large budget of the FDNY, invest taxpayer money into in-house drone programs.
Non-profit entities like Drone Responders, consisting of current and former public safety professionals, offer training and onboarding services for start-up drone programs.
As the small but effective ecosystem of drone enablement professionals and programs continues to expand, firefighters who were previously drone-curious have resources to pursue in their efforts to further integrate new tech into existing tactics.
Our High-Pitched Buzzing Sound Future
What are some outside factors that could keep drones grounded in fire departments? The usual suspects: money, politics, and legal.
In local firehouses, city councils, state capitals, and Washington D.C., debates continue over public safety budgets (new thermal-equipped drones can cost upwards of $50k), FAA regulations (public safety professionals are not exempt from complying with airspace regulations), and municipal ordinances related to privacy and how the public safety community uses information from drones.
The state of Florida recently kinked the hoses of many fire departments when it invalidated powerhouse drone maker DJI from the approved drone manufacturers list, along with an estimated $5.5M in public funds spent on DJI products flying in the hands of Florida’s public safety officials.
While much of this is outside the control of the average firefighter, drones have already proven themselves as highly valuable firefighting tools as well as political ones.
So, what’s next for drones in firefighting? The answer lies with firefighters and the future technology they choose to adopt. In-helmet thermal sensors, fireproof-smart clothing, and loads of other future tech goodies could make their way into this profession.
As drone capabilities continue to provide richer information at a lower risk, firefighters will continue to innovate alongside their robotic eyes in the sky.
Rugged operations in GPS-denied environments (a massive structure fire for example) will require drones to operate largely on their own. SLAM computing technology could allow future firefighting drones to move faster and safer without any human input.
Cloud computing will continue to evolve while providing a seamless fusion of data from multiple on-scene resources, including aerial drones. It’s possible we may see more use of tethered drone systems to do the work of actually extinguishing a fire.
In 2017, a thermal-sensing drone helped immensely by providing critical information at London’s Grenfell Tower but wasn’t capable of extinguishing the fire.
Although the unforgiving physics of a drone lifting water to great heights remains challenging, other extinguishing agents, such as powders and foams, may one day make it possible to snuff out a tower fire as quickly as a tethered drone can be deployed.
While we can’t rely on drones to replace the primary element of a firefighter’s job in killing a fire, we can rely on drones to be an exquisitely enhanced extension of our senses.