Guardian Center drone training exercise - cmprssd
Model of Guardian Centers training facility

Emergency readiness is one of the most frequently practiced and probably one of the least frequently exercised drills. However, when it counts on saving human lives, it really counts.

One such massive effort in emergency preparedness took place during the week of Sep 28 at the Guardian Centers in Atlanta, Georgia area.  Guardian Centers is an 830-acre training facility containing 75 acres of multi-story cityscapes that hosts up to 7000 participants for a variety of tactical trainings.

Guardian test site from drone1_cmprssd
Actual photo of test site
Guardian Test Site from drone2_cmprssd
Drone produced 3-D model of test site

I participated in the disaster preparedness drill, along with my colleague, Nico Darrow, on behalf of Cisco involvement with DreamHammer, which leverages drones to carry out CONOPS.  this exercise was a clear example of how innovation and the Internet of Things is having an impact on the world today.

A number of organizations, including the New York Fire Department, FEMA, CNN, AIG Insurance, law enforcement agencies, and drone startups also joined this collaborative exercise.  A simple drone flight around the affected structure generated a rich and realistic 3-D model of the area, which was invaluable to first responders, media outlets and insurance agencies in particular.

As seen in the embedded video above, a manual or automated flight using a drone, equipped with sensors, provides rich insights for first responders to effectively carry out their tactical operations. Thermal, multispectral or radiation sensors can be mounted on drones to provide details of human presence, structural integrity of the site, presence of hazardous materials, and number of other insights including accurate 3-D model of the test site. Real-time and historical 3-D models of a geographical area accelerate insurance claim processes, as explored by AIG during the exercise.

One of the biggest challenges of disaster coverage by media outlets is to have a reliable wireless and wired network to transfer nearly real-time streaming of high definition data and images. Cisco’s mesh infrastructure capabilities powered by outdoor wireless product line played a pivotal role in providing consistent high-quality networking connectivity.

Providing a flexible horizontal platform for drone operations not only helps save lives for first responders, but has the opportunity to unleash many other adjacent business cases. Learn more about them during our session at Drone World Expo conference on Nov. 17-18, 2015 in San Jose.




Biren Gandhi

Head of Drone Business & Distinguished Strategist

Corporate Strategy Office