The Cyprus Institute (CyI) has established itself as a key partner for the Department of Forests, providing resources and technical expertise in fixed wing and rotary Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) from our Unmanned Systems Research Laboratory (USRL), to assist with aerial surveillance for the prevention and assessment of forest fires. USRL was a key participant in the most recent exercise by the Department of Forests, called “Ifestos 2019”, held in Kakopetria this past Friday, 17th of May.
The exercise simulated the scenario of a wildfire break out in a dense-forested, mountainous area of Cyprus. Terrestrial and aerial forces of the Forestry Department, the Republic of Cyprus Fire Service, the National Guard, the Cyprus Police Aviation Unit, Civil Defence and the British Bases were mobilized for fighting the fire and ensuring people’s safety.
The Unmanned Systems Research Laboratory participated with two unmanned aerial systems (UAS): a lightweight and cost-effective fixed-wing aircraft and a small quad rotor UAS. The fixed-wing aircraft, called Forest Surveyor (FS), is tailored-made for forest surveillance and aerial cartography for forest-fire assessment, forest-fire risk mapping, post-fire management and enhancement of operational safety of fire-fighting personnel. During the “Ifestos 2019” exercise, the FS flew above the disaster area, providing live video steaming to the ground through the on-board visual and thermal cameras, facilitating the identification of rekindled fires and post-fire assessment.
The quadcopter UAS is a very fast and agile UAS, customized for emergency response. The role of this UAS at “Ifestos 2019” was to provide rapid, on-the-spot inspections of difficult to access forest areas through real-time video.