Alaska DOT & PF and Alaska Railroad Announce Pioneering Drone Avalanche Mitigation Efforts with Drone Amplified

firestarter drone

(JUNEAU, Alaska) – State agencies collaborated to achieve a major milestone in avalanche mitigation technology, with successful tests of Drone Amplified’s Drone Avalanche Reduction Technology (DART). Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) and the Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARCC) successfully deployed and detonated two CIL explosives on an U.S. made Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) to trigger two man-made slides to protect transportation infrastructure. This collaboration demonstrated that drones can be used in enhancing safety and efficiency in avalanche mitigation efforts.

The test, conducted in early January, builds on a foundation of prior technological advancements and collaborative efforts in avalanche mitigation, including reports from U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) (2003), Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)(2010), and the work of Mountain Drones (2013), which demonstrated the feasibility of using a heavy lift UAS platform to drop a single explosive round for avalanche control. This early demonstration highlighted the potential of drones in enhancing safety and efficiency in avalanche mitigation efforts.

The development and deployment of Drone Amplified’s DART system have significant regulatory challenges, due to the stringent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements for carriage of dangerous weapons. The Alaska DOT&PF’s project represents a technological leap and a pioneering effort in regulatory navigation.

“This demonstration represents a significant step forward in avalanche risk reduction for our public highways. The State of Alaska is moving away from military artillery as a primary means of avalanche mitigation, and will adopt Remote Avalanche Control Systems (RACS). UAS will help fill the gap where RACS are not feasible or economical said Timothy Glassett, DOT&PF Avalanche and Artillery Program Manager.

RACS are fixed position detonation installations, commonly used in mountainous areas around the world, to protect infrastructure from natural avalanches. RACS are becoming the international standard for avalanche hazard reduction.

In a move to support wider adoption and development of drone-based avalanche control systems, Alaska DOT&PF will share all FAA waiver and approval documentation required for such operations. This will provide a blueprint for other states interested in deploying drone technology for avalanche mitigation.

About Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities:

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities oversees 237 airports, 9 ferries serving 35 communities, over 5,600 miles of highway and 839 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska. The mission of the department is to “Keep Alaska Moving through service and infrastructure.”

About Alaska Railroad:

The Alaska Railroad provides comprehensive freight and passenger rail services, ensuring the safety and reliability of rail operations across Alaska, in some of the most challenging environmental conditions in the U.S.

About Drone Amplified:

Drone Amplified is a pioneering US-based UAS company specializing in drone-based land management solutions. The company focuses on providing safer and more efficient methods for combating wildfires and mitigating avalanches.

About CIL Explosives:

CIL, with over 140 years of experience, is a leader in specialty explosives and marine safety products, offering a wide range of globally available avalanche control and USCG-approved signaling solutions, while contributing to industry professionalism through scholarships and profits.

Optimized by Optimole