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.
Issue link: http://insideunmanned.epubxp.com/i/792105
30 unmanned systems inside February/March 2017 AIR SEARCH AND RESCUE The DJI SDK 2016 Developer Chal- lenge focused this past year on an all- too-common search and rescue (SAR) problem. Emergency personnel respond- ing to natural disasters need to quickly assess the situation and locate injured people but can't get to victims because of damaged roads, fl ood waters or other barriers. Sponsored by DJI, Ford Motor Company and the United Nations Devel- opment Programme, the contest offered a $100,000 prize to the team that best programmed a drone to help span the distance between responders and those who need their help. Using DJI's Software Development Kit (SDK), developers wrote programs enabling a DJI UAS unmanned aircraft to take off au- tonomously from a moving Ford-150 pickup and then reach and search a simulated di- saster site. The drone had to locate victims, return to the moving truck and land before downloading its data. Some 130 teams entered the contest early last year and 10 fi nalists met in August at Griffi ss International Airport in New York state, home to one of the Federal Aviation Administration's six test ranges. Each of the teams was given a DJI Matrice 100 rotorcopter and a Zenmuse X3 camera with which to work. After fl ight trials, the Autero team from San Rafael, California walked away with the grand prize. DJI, FORD AND THE UN SUPPORT LAST-MILE SEARCH DRONE PART 107 While Part 107 gives SAR organizations direction on what they need to legally operate their drones, it also gives them the ability to request waivers to fl y over people and to fl y at night. While fl ying over people usually isn't an issue in these types of missions, the ability to fl y at night is huge when someone goes missing. THE PAYLOAD Most of the search and rescue experts who spoke with Inside Unmanned Systems use high- defi nition, thermal and infrared cameras for SAR missions. "I have a drone with a FLIR camera we use at night. Being able to see a victim in the woods in the dark is invaluable," RP Flights Systems Founder Gene Robinson said. "We once rescued an endangered adult who was mentally unstable. The family said he was going to do himself in. We used that thermal imager to fi nd the guy and return him to his family so he could get help. If we had to go in with the offi cers we had on hand, it would have literally taken us hours of thumping around in the dark, putting those offi cers at risk. With the drone we had the searchers wait and then we could tell them exactly where to go." ON THE WATER Not only can drones search along the shoreline during water rescues, which is a dangerous and diffi cult task for ground searchers, they also can look underneath the surface, said Vinal Applebee, a section leader and chief UAV pilot at the Down East Emergency Medicine Institute (DEEMI). The DEEMI team has what he describes as a fi sh fi nder that they can drag a few feet off the water while it's tethered to the drone. It fl oats at the water surface while imaging the bottom of the water body. "We can use it as underwater sonar," said Richard Bowie, director or operations for DEEMI. "You hook it to the drone and have it in your emergency vehicle. If a kid falls into a pond, you can hoover it over the water and pattern it back and forth until you see the kid. It's just another evolution of it. We're looking at different ways of searching for a person, like fl ying a drone, using sonar, putting boats in the water—whatever we have to do." Federal Aviation Administration's six test ranges. Each of the teams was given a DJI Matrice 100 rotorcopter and a Zenmuse X3 camera with which to work. After fl ight trials, the Autero team from San Rafael, California walked away with the grand prize. to legally operate their drones, it also gives them the ability to request waivers to fl y over people and to fl y at night. While fl ying over people wait and then we could tell them Photos courtesy of DEEMI and DJI