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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 11, 2020
Press Release: 20-0049
Contact: Shannon McCarthy, 907-269-0448, shannon.mccarthy@alaska.gov

Alaska DOT&PF Named as Finalist in AUVSI XCELLENCE Awards
Awards Ceremony at AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2020 in Dallas, TX

(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) – The Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) is a finalist in the XCELLENCE Awards sponsored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International (AUVSI), the largest non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of unmanned systems and robotics. DOT&PF was selected from a pool of accomplished applicants as one of six finalists for the Public Safety category, sponsored by DJI, the world's leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology. The winner will be announced Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020, at AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2020.

DOT&PF was nominated and selected as a finalist for not only the department’s initial efforts responding to the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck north of Anchorage the morning of Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, but for the data collection and dissemination of that information thereafter. The effective use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) technology allowed DOT&PF to survey, document and distribute response efforts in real time increasing public awareness and reducing the need for crowd control, allowing department personnel and contractors to repair major road damage within four days.

“This was the first time the department implemented a new technology to document and distribute data of this magnitude,” said DOT&PF’s Deputy Commissioner of Aviation, John Binder. “We are always looking for innovative ways to conduct business in order to achieve DOT&PF’s mission. This nomination demonstrates the commitment that our employees and contractors have to serving Alaskans and their transportation needs regardless of the obstacles that have been put in front of them.”

The DOT&PF UAS Program facilitates technology throughout the department allowing personnel to document progress more frequently, increase public awareness by capturing aerial imagery as well as enabling field crews to augment infrastructure inspections and ground surveys with 3D mapping resulting in reduced costs and time. The DOT&PF UAS Program provides pilot training resources, UAS platforms and hands on support for those working in the field. As DOT&PF continues to implement unmanned technologies across the state, we look forward to collaboration with industry partners to develop the platforms and tools necessary to operate safely throughout Alaska’s unique environmental challenges.

"The AUVSI XCELLENCE Awards celebrate the achievements of individuals and organizations who have applied unmanned systems technology to create solutions to address a range of challenges affecting business and society," said Brian Wynne, president and CEO of AUVSI. “AUVSI is pleased to recognize these finalists for their perseverance and dedication to turn dreams into reality.”

“DJI is proud to recognize the AUVSI XCELLENCE Awards finalists, whose pioneering accomplishments highlight the critical role drones play in a wide variety of public safety and humanitarian applications, from directly saving lives through search and rescue missions to safely transporting life-saving deliveries in urgent times of need, and many more,” said Romeo Durscher, Senior Director of Public Safety Integration at DJI. “Their collective effort showcases the best of what can be achieved with drone technology today and will encourage innovators to push the boundaries for what’s possible with drone technology in the years to come.”

The AUVSI XCELLENCE Awards honor individuals and organizations that are innovators in the unmanned systems industry, with a demonstrated commitment to advancing autonomy, leading and promoting safe adoption of unmanned systems, and developing programs that use these technologies to save lives and improve the human condition. Winners will be announced at XPONENTIAL, which offers a broad-based and balanced educational program brimming with cutting-edge content and inspirational insights, ranging from policy implications and technical challenges to use cases and best practices across vertical markets and everything in between.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities oversees 237 airports, 10 ferries serving 35 communities, more than 5,600 miles of highway and 776 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska. The mission of the department is to “Keep Alaska Moving through service and infrastructure.”

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