An academic leader in emergency-response drone tech is throwing a lifeline to rescue public-safety agencies trapped in the often tangled mire of search-and-rescue UAV issues.
The University of Nevada, Reno will host what is being called the “first-ever symposium on the uses of aerial robotics systems and autonomous vehicles for emergency first responders” April 6-8.
The UAV SAR Symposium will line up a series of experts in the areas of advanced UAV search techniques, drone sensor technology, air-traffic issues as well as the all-important navigation of local, state and federal UAS regulations.
“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, said.
“This symposium will explore opportunities, present case studies and include panel discussions to foster dialogue on how first responders use, or would like to use, autonomous systems.”
Keynote speakers will include:
- Gene Robinson, owner and president of RPFlightSystems, Inc. and the non-profit RPSearch Services;
- NASA’s Dr. Frank Aquilera – UAV traffic management systems;
- Attorney Ann Morgan – UAV laws and their impact on first responders;
- Dr. Kostas Alexis, an expert on sensor technology;
- Nevada Department of Public Safety’s Paul Burke – advanced drone search techniques with drones.
“Because we are one of the few Universities in the country that is heavily involved in researching the benefits and capabilities of UAVs being integrated into search-and-rescue operations, we decided it was a natural fit to host this symposium,” Rapp said.
“We have a great relationship with sheriff’s organizations and first responders, and they are excited for this event to take place,” he added. “We have a National Science Foundation grant to develop and integrate UAS platforms and systems into disaster scenarios that includes several University faculty, the Washoe County Emergency Management Office and the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office.”
For first-responder agencies, drones have already provided several emerging, life-saving new technologies that can improve response time and the effectiveness of a rescue operation.
In Canada, the Renfrew Paramedic Service outside of Ottawa recently launched a drone patrol as a primary response plan across a variety of scenarios: finding lost hikers, life-vest delivery to capsized boaters or hazardous material verification following highway crashes. Renfrew contracted with Indro Robotic and Remote Sensing to provide larger drones to carry life-saving medical equipment to a scene such as a defibrillator or epi-pens.
On the telemetry side of, Net Sensors, self-described as a “developer of multi-sensor breathing detectors,” recently announced the launch of the Lynx6-A, a sensor that can be attached to a drone to detect breathing and heartbeat activity in search-and-rescue operations.
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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