Thursday, July 26, 2012

Drones: Not Just For Military & Police Surveillance

We have previously written about drones and how police departments are utilizing drones.  When used by police, the drones are not used for constant surveillance of an area.  They are sent into the air when a situation arises that officers on the ground are not able to get a clear picture of.

Firefighters often have the same issue.  When fighting a large fire, such as the wildfires recently in Colorado, it is difficult for firefighters on the ground to have a full understanding of what is happening with the fire around them.  This is where drones have been found to be useful.

Drones are lightweight.  They can fly in virtually any weather situation (without putting a human pilot at risk).  A drone can take off from virtually anywhere (unlike a helicopter or plane).  They are more cost efficient, as they run off a small electric engine that can generally fly for several hours.  This allows a person on the ground to quickly and safely collect information regarding the fire.

The information a drone can collect will definitely vary upon the model being utilized, but drones designed for firefighter use are able to:

  • give a bird's eye view of the scene
  • detect unseen persons (such as those trapped under rubble) utilizing infrared cameras
  • detect dangerous/poisonous gases
The concept of utilizing drones for firefighting is actually taking off quite quickly in European countries.  Check out the following video of one being utilized in Germany.

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