Tag Archives: UAV

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

Book review: art photography reaches new heights in visual tour of Baltimore

DroneArtBaltimore_smallDrones and art.

It’s an unlikely combination in a world where mainstream media is saturated with stories of how drones kill and spy on people.

But Baltimore couple Terry and Belinda Kilby have taken their unlikely combination of talents — software engineering and teaching visual arts in public school — to bring new meaning to the mainstream idea of a drone.

Drone Art: Baltimore” is the title of the first book by the couple, which together goes by the name Elevated Element. And, it’s the first ever compilation of photos in a published book generated completely by a drone.

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 5.28.21 PMThe book is a visual tour of Baltimore, with photos ranging from famous landmarks like the Concord Point Light to the Mr Boh sign in Brewers Hill — aerial perspectives of landmarks any tourist would see on a trip to Baltimore. Continue reading Book review: art photography reaches new heights in visual tour of Baltimore

Drone, UAV, or creepy robot bird: What do we call these things?

Photo of me flying at Balboa Island by my flying buddies over at www.wildpilots.com.
Photo of me flying at Balboa Island by my flying buddies over at www.wildpilots.com.

I’ve been a drone girl for the past few months now, and the one debate hotter than banning/regulating drones is what to call them.
Many people refer to them as drones. And many other people stop me mid-sentence, as soon as the word drone is used.

It’s no secret: drones have a negative connotation, largely because of military implications. However, the drones on this blog, and that are being discussed for FAA regulation, are far from that. These drones are $700 flying, hovering aircrafts where cameras can be attached to gather images from a different viewpoint. They deliver wedding cakes and save rhinos by spotting poachers.

So should we refer to them as the same name as a totally different piece of equipment that has been used for war? Continue reading Drone, UAV, or creepy robot bird: What do we call these things?