DHS testing drone sensors with CBRN-detection capability

The U.S. Department of Homeland recently initiated trials of a variety of small unmanned aircraft platforms loaded with sensor arrays that could potentially aid emergency teams responding to a radiological or chemical incident.

DHS will conduct tests of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems at the Oklahoma Training Center for Unmanned Systems, which is run by Oklahoma State University's nonprofit University Multispectral Laboratories, according to HSToday.us.

SUA sensors are being tested as a means of increasing the situational awareness of first responders, including hazardous materials teams. Unmanned platforms have been fitted with arrays that can locate and provide information about the position of concentrated chemical and radiological agents.

The department requires SUAS sensors to be tested for their ability to capture accident data with still-frame, high definition photos. Some sensor platforms are capable of other functions, including one that can determine whether individuals are armed or unarmed, according to HSToday.us.

The testing is being carried out by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate's Borders and Maritime Security Division. The trials, officially known as the Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety Testing Program, will aid in determining whether SUAs could be suitable for use in other capacities and in other agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard.