Drones can be autonomous, which makes them the perfect always vigilant eye in the sky for safety and protection. Today I want to discuss two areas I don’t see drones being used for, but should. They are advanced wildfire detection and first responder rescue. I do see scuttlebutt on the web regarding drone first responders, but I am not seeing them in action, why?
Wildfires are a huge issue in many states. In California, I see fires popping up all over the place. Mostly small, and usually put out before any major damage can happen, but could we get there quicker?
Drones can fly a programmed grid autonomously so this part is easy. Just draw the area you want to survey and the drone will fly that pattern. Equipping the drone with inferred is also easy. Most drones have a flight camera and a photography camera. Just replace the photography camera with an IR and your done.
These last two stages are more advanced. In order for this to be as autonomous as possible, you will need flight sustainability and detection and warning systems.
Flight sustainability can be answered with a drone equipped with swappable batteries that the drone changes out in a Drone Pad. This pad has several batteries on standby while charging depleted batteries. The drone lands on the pad, syncs, and the pad removes the depleted batteries and replaces with fresh ones. Simple! These stands can be placed at ranger stations for power and maintenance.
Addressing the detection and warning system is easier in theory. The drone has a heat threshold, that when broken, it does a few things.
Notifies monitoring station
Circles area to gain live video feed
Notifies other drones its mission has changed so they can cover the grid, or deploy additional drones.
Deploys counter measures
Counter measures can be deploying a much larger drone with fire depression capability to get on scene as quickly as possible. They can attack the fire, or protect surrounding areas depending on mission profile. This should give firefighters a much appreciated advanced start.
As with the above drones, and their capabilities, you can have drones flying patterns not looking for fires, but looking for people in destress. They can have a radio to listen for SOS calls where people will tune to the destress frequency. Drones can also look for people displaying help signs or waving hands. They can also look for heat signatures.
Once the drone detects an incident, the same procedures as above take place. Counter measures can be delivering aid, blankets, water until rescue can arrive on scene.
Looking beyond what current drones can do we might see the future looking like this.
More detailed flight patterns
More advanced counter measures
Accessories to extend capability and mission profile
My friend Justin over at Yum Technology mentioned using drones in security. Having them sweep facilities on schedules and reporting any anomalies. This would greatly extend a security teams capabilities, especially from the higher vantage point.
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Thank you for reading!