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K-State Today

May 22, 2024

K-State Salina's drone expertise helps keep Kelce Jam festivalgoers safe

Submitted by Jeremy Bohn

Pictured: Kurt Carraway, executive director of the Applied Aviation Research Center helping to provide crowd safety at the Kelce Jam festival.

One of the biggest events in Kansas City was kept safer by Kansas State University Salina's Applied Aviation Research Center, or AARC, as they used unmanned aircraft system, or UAS, to help law enforcement and medical teams enhance crowd safety at the recent Kelce Jam festival.

Kelce Jam featured several well-known musical performers and Kansas City Chiefs professional football players performing at the Azura Amphitheater in Bonner Springs. The event drew thousands of attendees to enjoy the entertainment. AARC partnered with the Kansas Department of Transportation, or KDOT, and the Bonner Springs Police Department to deploy its uncrewed aircraft systems, or drones, to be the "eye in the sky" during the event. AARC pilots flew the UAS without flying overhead the thousands of attendees. They used their advanced technology to help the incident commander direct police and medics throughout the event as needed and provide overwatch.

Thanks to special grant funding by the Federal Aviation Administration and an ongoing partnership with KDOT, AARC was able to provide its drone expertise at no cost to the Bonner Springs Police Department. Additionally, part of the purpose of the research effort was to field new technologies that enabled the on-scene commander to see a map with locational information on public safety officers as well as the location of the UAS and their fields of view. This fusion of data will be especially critical in supporting larger-scale emergency response efforts in the future.

Watch Kansas City TV news station KCTV5's report.