When it comes to disaster relief and search and rescue efforts, time is of the utmost importance. Drones are faster, cheaper and provide better results than conventional satellite imagery. As seen in relief efforts in the Philippines after typhoon Haiyan, humanitarian organizations were being introduced to new drone designs and projects almost daily.
It typically takes a Helicopter an hour or more to obtain clearance to take off, which does not include any type of travel time to the location it is needed. A drone can be up and running in minutes and start providing valuable information to the operator immediately.
Several teams of drones had been used in the wake of the typhoon to assess damages, search for survivors as well as to provide detailed digital maps to rescue workers on the ground which reveal the safest, quickest routes to locations across the city. One team of drone operators was even tasked with helping local mayors identify which areas within their communities still needed reconstruction work done, which had previously been overlooked.
“A significant benefit of the xUAV is as an asset that could be locally employed and managed. They do not require a centralized command system; they are ‘locally modifiable’ so changes to the system can easily be done to meet community needs. These expendable systems by nature are small, inexpensive and not transportation limited. Unlike larger systems, xUAV could easily be hand carried to remote locations. The components are derived from everyday consumer technology backed by a large network of web-based support systems, often set-up by the academic community.”
In short, UAVs are an accessible, low cost, tool that comprise an invaluable part of any disaster response team.
Drone developers such as OpenRelief and Matternet are leading the charge in relief and rescue technology, such as improved methods for delivering food and medical supplies to survivors of these types of disasters. Many of countries do not have all season style roads, like most major countries around the world, so finding a method of quickly delivering supplies to these remote locations is critical for survival of these victims.
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