Drones Are Saving Lives Faster Than Humans

Posted: Jan 26 2018, 7:34am CST | by

 

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Drones Are Saving Lives Faster Than Humans

Drones Are Now Speeding Up The Ability To Save Lives

Drones have become the must-have item on nearly every technophile’s wishlist, becoming popular only in the last few years. While some drones cost under $100, others can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

The cost of a drone varies by components, and depends on what the drone is used for. DJI makes lightweight drones for hobbyists and amateurs, while other companies make high tech drones specifically designed for serious professional videographers.

Drones have been around for a while, but until 2014 they were a well-kept secret, mostly enjoyed by hobbyists who also fly model airplanes and helicopters. When drones became affordable for the average household in 2014, Maplin Direct – an online electronics company – sold nearly 10,000 drones before the Christmas rush. Now they’re everywhere.

Drones are serving a higher life-saving purpose

While most people have been using their drones for fun, Surf Life Saving NSW in Australia has been testing drones for their life saving capabilities. Specifically, the company fitted a fleet of drones they call The Little Ripper UAV, with a flotation device designed to be delivered to swimmers in distress.

On January 18, 2018, one of these Little Rippers made their debut when two swimmers became stranded in a 10-foot swell a half mile from shore. Lifeguards were able to pilot the drone to the swimmers and drop the inflatable life preserver several minutes faster than it would have taken for human lifeguards to reach the swimmers. Both swimmers made it to shore shaken but completely unharmed.

The irony is that the lifeguards were preparing for a training session with the drones when the swimmers needed their help. After this incredible rescue, the New South Wales government invested $430,000 to fund the Surf Life Saving NSW company’s drone project.

Common sense is the best life saver

Although drones are capable of saving lives in a multitude of ways, they aren’t substitutes for common sense. Just as you should never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you should never attempt to swim – especially in the ocean – under the influence, either.

A drone may not have been able to save the life of a man who drowned while heavily intoxicated at a water park in 2014. Being intoxicated really does impair judgment, and unfortunately even drugs designed to treat addiction – like methadone – can become equally addictive. It’s important for anyone undergoing addiction treatment to stay focused on their recovery until they see it through.

Not everyone ends up in trouble because of carelessness. Plenty of people get swept away in the ocean and in controlled wave pools because they underestimate the power of the water, or the water is unpredictable. It happens to experienced swimmers, too.

It’s wonderful knowing that when swimmers in distress are spotted, drones can deliver the help they need much faster than human lifeguards. While it doesn’t put lifeguards out of business, it does protect and save their lives as well.

Drones aren’t just saving swimmers

It’s not just swimmers whose lives are being saved by drones. In 2017, DJI, one of the most popular manufacturers of drones, said drones have saved at least 59 people in 18 incidents around the world since 2013. Many of these life-saving drones were piloted by civilians who put their drone into action when an emergency situation arose.

DJI also said, “of particular note is a devastating series of floods in early December 2015 in India, where various media accounts claim dozens of families, and up to 200 individuals, were spotted and rescued by drones. We have excluded these lives from our overall total because no definitive count is available.”

In 2013, a drone in Canada helped find a man lost in a snowstorm. Drones have also been used to find a missing heart attack victim, and in January 2017 a drone equipped with heat sensors was used to find missing kayakers stranded in the dark of night.

Drones are even being used to detect bombs in countries like Somalia.

Drone technology comes with a huge responsibility

When the FAA announced that all drones must be registered to operate, it created a surge of anger from the hobbyist community. It didn’t take long for that decision to be reversed, but that doesn’t mean drones can be flown over other people’s private property. In some states, residents have admitted to shooting down drones after operators have refused to honor their request not to fly it over their property.

In the case of an emergency, they’d probably make an exception. However, if you’re going to fly one of these awesome unmanned aircrafts, be smart, and respect other people’s privacy.

This story may contain affiliate links.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/68" rel="author">Larry Alton</a>
Larry is an independent business consultant specializing in tech, social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

 

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