Tag Archives: search and rescue

How drones proved themselves a powerful tool for search and rescue

Courtesy S.W.A.R.M.
Courtesy S.W.A.R.M.

Eric Garcia went missing in California 2013.

The search area for him was 40 miles along. Officials argued over whose jurisdiction is was, and the search was losing resources.

That’s when Garcia’s fiancé called their friend Jim Bowers, a full-time artist and drone hobbyist of 15 years.

“She asked me, ‘could you use my drone to help find Eric?’” Bowers said during a speech at International Drone Day in Las Vegas, Nevada. “I didn’t know what to say. I had never used a drone for search and rescue before, but I couldn’t say no.”

Bowers spent 4 days flying all over cliff faces, canyons and the road Garcia had been supposedly driving on.

“We kept using my drones to look back on the cliff faces,” he said.

The drone was able to help search team narrow down the area to 4 miles, sending out four people on motorcycles to continue the search.

The search led Bowers to start a network of volunteers to carry out search and rescue missions like this one, but on an international scale.

His organization? It’s called S.W.A.R.M. (Search With Aerial RC Multi-rotor). It’s a network where anyone qualified with a drone that had FPV capabilities could use the network to volunteer their time and search for missing people.

S.W.A.R.M. now has over 3,000 volunteer pilots in 54 countries around the world. The organization runs as a volunteer only network and does not operate through any law enforcement or emergency agencies.

Bowers’ first-ever drone search and rescue mission eventually found Garcia.

“He had come up on I-80, slid off the freeway and hit a tree,” Bowers said. Continue reading How drones proved themselves a powerful tool for search and rescue

17 reasons why drones will change your life

17. PIZZA.  Delivery of pizza. Literally flying right into your hands. Like, Domino’s is testing pizza delivery with a drone.

16. Baywatch, turned robot. Replace your lifeguard with a drone. That’s right — GPS-enabled drones can help someone drowning by dropping floatation devices.

15. More wine, better wine. Viticulturists could fly drones over vineyards and spot differences in rows, allowing them to know where to irrigate, inspect or harvest. That’s not something anyone can whine about.

14.  Keeping the doctors away, with more apples everyday! That’s because researchers are using multispectral aerial images of orchards to hone in on colors and temperatures to locate a fungus, known as the apple scab. This is putting more apples into your hands.

13. Or, bringing doctors to you! Matternet is using drones to ferry medical supplies to hard-to-reach regions of the earth. One of their missions flew medical supplies into a camp housing survivors of Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake.

Continue reading 17 reasons why drones will change your life