The Austin Fire Department wants to add drone like aircraft to its fleet of rescue vehicles.
Wednesday, members of the department's Robotic Emergency Deployment team held a demonstration flight near Wimberley. AFD is the first major metropolitan fire department in Texas to receive federal authorization to start training flights.
The team was given temporary clearance to use an unmanned aerial system shortly after the Memorial Day floods. The sorties were surprised by Gene Robison who has helped the FAA draft operational rules.
"When we got out there, we act found things the helicopters actually missed, so I'm very satisfied that we did help, I'm satisfied the aircraft performed as we thought it would," said Robinson.
Efforts are now underway to get full operational certification.
" So this is all about saving lives, its about taking technology, that is in existence today, and plugging that into our real world missions. Its making a difference through technology and I think we have a great opportunity right now, and Austin is a very forward thinking city, lets take that technology and make a difference in public safety in the fire service," said AFD RED Team manager Coitt Kessler.
AFD has not decided what type of aircraft it wants to purchase, which is expected to require city council approval.