Drones: The Future of Search and Rescues?

The use of drones has recently been getting a considerable amount of bad press, especially when discussions are taking place to train birds to take down what most people are classing as an invasion of privacy. However, the ability to use drones to the advantage of emergency personnel is unrecognised among the public, mostly due to the absence of such stories from the public eye. The use of drones by police has been suggested for evidence gathering the control and monitoring of large crowds during events such as festivals and those held in the streets of large cities. The cost of using a Police helicopter is prohibitive in such a situation whereas the costs are minor for drone utilisation.

Research recently carried out in Switzerland has proposed and validated the use of drones in situations such as search and rescue operations. Allowing the devices that are currently classed as a nuisance by most of the public to have a purpose that could aid those in need. The research was published in light of the researchers promising findings, producing statistics that identify the use of drones to be more effective than using personnel on the ground. The statistics show that when attempting to identify the path leading to an individual in need of help, the drone calculated the correct pathway 85% of the time, with the ground personnel guessing the correct pathway just 82% of the time.

Advantages from this research are clear, the use of drones in situations such as search and rescue operations will reduce the cost of labour, reduce the response time and consequently mean more people can potentially be reached in a moment which could prove critical.

Original article can be found in Forensic Magazine:

http://www.forensicmag.com/articles/2016/02/autonomous-drones-fly-search-and-rescue-operations

This Blog post has been guest written by Kurstie Burgess, a Forensics student at Staffordshire University currently undertaking work experience at Evidential Ltd.

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