Inside Unmanned Systems

FEB-MAR 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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28 unmanned systems inside   February/March 2017 AIR SEARCH AND RESCUE More and more first responders are turning to drones during search and rescue missions, whether they're searching for a lost child in the woods or for survivors after a devastating flood. by Renee Knight Photo courtesy of Swiss Drones F or search and rescue (SAR) volunteers, the scenarios are seemingly endless. One mission could take them to the edge of a heavily wooded area, where they're looking for a wandering Alzheimer's patient, while another might lead them to a dangerous river where a local fisherman has gone missing. And of course there are the larger search efforts, where first responders work as quickly and safe- ly as possible to find survivors after a devastating flood or other disaster. These men and women must be prepared for just about anything, and that means arriving equipped with the right tools for the job. For a growing number of search and rescue organizations, that now in- cludes unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). While drones won't replace more traditional search methods, such as ground crews and manned aircraft, they can certainly be used to fill in the gaps. They can, for example, cover larg- er areas than search parties on foot and reach tight spaces manned helicopters just can't get to. UAS offer an economical, safe solution that helps save time—and in many of these situations, that could be the difference between life and death. "This is a powerful tool for us whether we're mapping a disaster pile to find victims or flying over a wooded area looking for a hiker or hunt- er," said Christopher Boyer, executive director and COO of the National Association for Search and Rescue. "This is a big disruptive technology right now. Ten or 15 years ago it was GPS and cell phones, now it's UAS systems." Search… Down East Emergency Medicine Institute (DEEMI), located in Maine, often needs to per- form searches in less than ideal weather con- ditions, Director of Operations Richard Bowie said, and there have been situations where heavy fog has kept his manned aircraft from getting to a scene. With a UAS, he can drive to the search area, launch the drone at 200 feet and get the im- ages he needs. DEEMI was the first SAR organization to receive an ex- emption to fly a UAS in 2015. The team also uses their UAS, which includes the DJI Inspire 1, to scope out an area before a more intense ground search, said Vinal Search and rescue organization Basarnas, located in Indonesia, uses Swiss Drones UAS during SAR missions. HELP FROM ABOVE BY THE NUMBERS 85,000 THE AVERAGE NUMBER OF ACTIVE MISSING PERSON CASES IN THE U.S. AT ANY GIVEN TIME SOURCE: National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs)

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