“Drones for Good” continue to prove their worth in saving lives.
In the arena of search and rescue, UAV technology is helping public-safety agencies find missing people faster and provide assistance to distressed natural disaster victims.
In Minnesota, a police drone successfully located a lost hunter in a swampy state wildlife area last month. The unidentified hunter called police to report he had lost his bearings and was stuck in waist-high water in terrain described as rugged and swampy.
Lt. Paul Lenzmeier launched the $20,000 drone and easily located the hunter and his dog in the forest. He helped ground officers triangulate the hunter’s location and directed a rescue helicopter to airlift man and beast.
“Who knows where we would have been had we not been able to use this. How long that male would have been out in the swampy area,” Lenzmeier told WDAZ. “We see technology increasing and the use of the UAS’s just increasing.”
The Kent Fire and Rescue Service celebrated several victories lately thanks to the department’s DJI Inspire 1 quadcopter. The drone offers 4K video with a gimbal capable of turning a hi-res cam 360 degrees around and 125 degrees down.
Over the past several months, Kent has used the Inspire to locate a missing dog as well as assisting in a search for a missing man. On the firefighting front, the Kent drone helped the department map out the hottest spots in a brush fire. According to Kent Online, the service has deployed the drone about 60 times.
“The camera can stream images live to a fire commander who may be miles away, but can now see what’s happening on his phone,” Kent Station Manager Adam Green said.
The Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency deployed drones to find victims of recent flooding and mudslides in Garut, West Java. The deadly flooding killed at least 34 people and 19 are still missing. Thermal-mapping drones are scouring the area seeking more survivors.
SAR drones are expected to evolve and improve, adding new sensory technology and improving data telemetry.
“The potential for uses of unmanned autonomous systems in search and rescue operations is enormous,” Warren Rapp, business director of the Nevada Advanced Autonomous Systems Innovation Center stated before a recent symposium on UAV SAR.