We had an amazing experience at Homestead National Park, assessing the NIMBUS drone technology as it navigated without trouble across ignited and not-ignited areas, deploying ignition spheres at the specified temporal intervals and within yards of the specified targets. We also got a trove of data collected that is being analyzed, together with feedback obtained directly through the interactions with the fire personnel on the ground, which will help to drive the next step forward with the technology. My friend and colleague Carrick Detweiler posted a nice blog of it at the NIMBUS web site, and we got plenty of press (from the NY Times to Popular Mechanics). Special thanks to our students Jim, Evan, Chris, and Becca, to our collaborators Dirac and Craig, and to our enablers at Homestead Jesse and Mark, for making this test so successful.
And we have now obtained support from the National Science Foundation to further the development of this project under Enabling Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Fire Ignitions in Complex Firefighting Contexts.