A fleet of unmanned aerial systems has been used in Texas in an unprecedented move to assess the level of damage caused by Storm Harvey.
The second-largest property insurer in Texas, Allstate Corp, expects its drones to make at least a couple of thousand flights a week once it begins the claim process and the airspace has been cleared.
Harvey is the second major hurricane since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) cut down UAV restrictions last June. The looser regulations now allow for use of filming, inspecting facilities and other commercial activities.
Since the regulations were changed in June there has been a spike in the amount of people obtaining FAA certificates allowing them to fly drones commercially. More than 770,000 drones have since been registered with the FAA to fly in US airspace.
“Harvey is an opportunity to see whose drones are capable and whose are merely toys,” George Mathew, chairman and chief executive of American drone company Kespry, told Reuters. “Harvey is a seminal moment for the industry.”
As well as dealing with the aftermath of the storm UAV technology was implemented amid the hurricane as part of media coverage.