Exploring drone use in disasters

Search and rescue operations could be among the areas to benefit from using remotely piloted aircraft, also known as drones.

hey’re the new eyes in the sky, taking human vision further than ever before.

Remotely piloted aircraft, also known as drones, have become more affordable for hundreds of Australians, and they’re growing in popularity.

Search and rescue operations could be among the areas to benefit from the new technology.

When fires raged across parts of New South Wales last month, dramatic images of the devastation were captured by hobby drone operators flying unpiloted aircraft with cameras attached.

Then the Civil Aviation Safety Authority stepped in: to warn unlicensed drone operators against flying without permission or face an $8,000 fine.

Even so, approved drones could be part of the fire-fighting solution.

At the Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation in Brisbane, Rowland Marshall is among those working to develop responsive, unmanned aircraft…for use in disaster prevention and response.

“Unmanned aero-vehicles (UAV) greatly reduce the risk to pilots and also to people on the ground by providing more information. And with regards to Project Rescue, what we’re trying to do is make the usage of those aircraft safer so we can use them in more environments, in more areas and more locations.”

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