Monday, March 9, 2015

Coast Guard Auxiliary Drone Project

As some of you may or may not know I am a member of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary.  I am not a boat person but a Telecommunications Operator (TO), dealing with the monitoring of Channel 16 at various inland bodies of water and as well as on the coast when needed.  Another function I perform is the monitoring of the US Coast Guard "Notice to Mariners" ensuring that the signal is strong and clear.  The Coast Guard believes that the signal if heard one hundred miles inland would also be heard 100 miles off the coast.  Currently I am working on a project  to develop a drone that can be used to give the Auxiliary a forward presence on lakes and rivers during search and rescue operations.  Not only being able to launch it from the shore line but to be able launch it from a Coast Guard Auxiliary facility (another term for a boat) and recover.

Other than for training and practice, a Drone Operator (DO) would not be performing a mission by himself, he must also have an Observer.  The DO is there to support the TO/Mission Commander (MC).

So here is a typical mission, launching from the shore line.

The night before the mission. The DO will:

1.  Initiate the mission checklist.

2.  Ensure that the proper charts/maps are available for the Area of Operations (AO).

3.  The DO charges all flight batteries and backups.  A drone has a lot of different power requirements including camera(s), a receiver, transmitter(s), a central processing unit (CPU) and possibly other ground support devices.

4.  Based on the mission requirements, with the MC and DO would pick a site that can be used for both launching and recovery.    This would be a site away from bystanders preferably an area that can be fenced off with yellow tape and not near the communications facility.  If possible it should be a location with WIFI access (if WIFI is not available from a nearby location, the DO must program the site LAT/LONG into the drone's memory.)

The day of the mission:

1.  The DO obtains the latest weather reports for the AO.   

2.  The DO has the final say in the operation of the drone.If the DO feels that the drone cannot be operated in a safe and reliable manner then the mission must be scrubbed.

3.  If a qualified Observer is not available the mission is scrubbed.  (for those of you who don't know what scrubbed  means it is a term used in the military indicating that the mission is canceled).

So here are a few of the parameters that I have so far identified:

First it must be a self autonomous device.  In other words, I can set waypoints on a chart or map (for that matter Google Earth if WIFI is available) and have the drone fly the mission without having an expert drone pilot tied up managing it.  Well being totally autonomous may not be possible.  In addition there must be an Observer, this is a person who is watching the Drone as it flies the mission. The drone will need a storage case. a way to charge batteries in the field.

Well that is all for now, I need to think more about this and will come back as things develop 


  1. This design is steller! You definitely know how to keep a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost...HaHa!) Excellent job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool! outlook sign in

  2. A great platform for such a nice information best rated drones under 300 keep up the good work