Drones are the future of search and rescue efforts, so why the heck aren’t they flying over Tacloban right now, looking for some of the 25,000 people who remain missing?
Right now, Reuters is reporting that American aide helicopters have begun search and rescue efforts in Tacloban, where at least 4,000 people are dead. But so far, there have been no reports of drones—military or otherwise—joining that search.
“One of the rallying cries of those who support the commercial integration of unmanned aerial vehicles into American skies is that they can help perform search and rescue operations cheaper and more efficiently than helicopters can. Drones can fly lower, can be equipped with the same infrared and thermal imaging sensors, and, with their lower cost, a team of drones can cover more area than a helicopter can.
If drones are ever going to make the public relations transformation from killing machine to commercial-and-public-service juggernaut that those in the industry are hoping they will, they’ve got to be deployed sometime. In the United States, the FBI has used drones in several hostage situations, and some search and rescue teams and even hobbyists are considering using them for search and rescue efforts. Back in August, a Monmouth University poll showed that 88 percent of Americans support their use as a search and rescue platform. Federal Aviation Administration regulations prevent their use in the United States by most entities, but teams operating in the storm-battered Philippines could likely use their help right now.”