Aid Groups Turn to Unmanned Aircraft for Disaster Support

An official of the Center for Research and Technology Volcanoes Development (BPPTK) releases a drone quadcopter to monitor activity from the Mount Sinabung volcano in Sumatra, Indonesia (Reuters)

Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs) just getting off the ground in commercial and private space are already running into some challenges. But concern surrounding their use has not stopped at least one humanitarian group from putting them to work for disaster relief operations.

Drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (AUVs), as they are sometimes called, “have a bad rap,” says Andrew Schroeder, Director of Research and Analysis at the humanitarian and medical non-profit Direct Relief.

The word “drone” has been typically associated with unmanned aircraft used by the U.S. military. But Schroeder says there are many types of unmanned aircraft that people might not be “terribly informed” about.

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