Tag Archive | firefighting

Human Side(s) of UAVs – Future Concepts

Dear friends,

Although only five months young, dronologista blog has grown and needs a new attire.

As of 1st of September, dronologista.com moves to a new hosting, new address and slightly changes the appearance . Content will remain the same, and dronologista will continue to provide information about non-military drones only.

Enjoy!

Couple of days ago, I stumbled upon an article describing the potential future use of drones. It actually fits perfectly in the Human Side(S) of UAV topic, and after writing about demining and search&rescue application, here comes the post about possible applications in the years to come.

1. Firestorm

Dronologista already wrote about UAV used for firefighting. This drone would act literally like a scout wandering through the building on fire searching for victims. It could be fully equipped with different sensors in order to detect dangerous gases and possible threats. Also camera can be attached, giving the firefighters both conventional and thermal image in real-time so they can asses situation more precise and make relevant decisions.  LEDs could also be attached to the drone so it can act like a beacon for victims and guide them through perilous conditions to safety.

2. Snow Cyclops

One of the most interesting application of  UAV, is to search for potential avalanche risk zones. This is of tremendous interest for the ski resorts, remote mountain villages and roadways. Also, if needed, it could carry a small amount of explosives in order to trigger the „controlled avalanches“ where needed. Moreover if avalanche strikes before it could have been forecasted, drones could be sent in search and rescue mission, something already described here. Last but not the least, it could carry small first aid kit in order to assist at the very first moments after the undesirable event. All in all a couple of drones could easily replace helicopter with a crew of several men in this kind of situations. From the cost perspective there is not much to say since it heavily supports drone’s side. About the human life in whole story it is not necessary to say anything.

Snow Cyclops

Snow Cyclops

3. The Cyclodrone

This concept is bit far-fetched, but hey, it just might work. This drone flies in front of a solo bike rider at a predetermined distance from the rider and while maintaining the connection with the rider’s mobile device. Large LEDs should make a visible warning to other riders, cars and any object that might affect rider’s path and safety.

AirDog, the drone that has been successfully funded on Kickstarter is a similar concept, but it follows the object (bike in this case). These two concepts could be combined and provide enhanced traffic safety while making breathtaking shoots of the movable objects. Actually, just imagine the “Le Tour de France” with these flyers instead of bunch of guys on motorcycles with huge cameras. That could give someone an idea…

Some of above mentioned concepts could become reality sooner, some later, but they are all products of a vivid imagination, and as Albert Einstein noted „Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere“ . It would not be surprise to see some of these solutions a reality in near future, where dronologista will wait and give you the latest update.

Pictures property of DesignMind

Firefighting Drones

Dear friends,

Although only five months young, dronologista blog has grown and needs a new attire.

As of 1st of September, dronologista.com moves to a new hosting, new address and slightly changes the appearance . Content will remain the same, and dronologista will continue to provide information about non-military drones only.

Enjoy!

Firefighting is the act of extinguishing fires, with the goal of preventing loss of life and destruction of property and environment. It is one of the most dangerous occupations and many firefighters are losing their lives in the line of duty every year. It is a profession where any reliable technological innovation that can mitigate the risk of firefighting is quickly adopted. Dronologista already had an article about the experimental firefighting drone, Skybarge, but as it is still in experimental phase, today we’ll focus on UAV and equipment that is already being put to use.

Two years ago, Al Jazeera English uploaded a video on their Youtube channel about a firefighting unit in Germany using a drone to increase situational awareness. The price of the drone mentioned in the video was ~$150.000.

Thanks to the Moore’s law, similar equipment today can be acquired with much lower budget. One of the most advanced players in this market, Danish Sky Watch, offers Huginn X1 quadcopter with both thermal and visible spectrum camera, with a price tag not quite available, but nowhere near $150.000 mentioned above. However, there are cheaper options, and if you are having technical skills, you can buy M1-D camera at Ebay, and attach it to your multicopter, to get a very useful piece of equipment for less than $30.000.

To see how useful it is, check the video below, and it will be clear how much difference it makes to have a FLIR camera in the sky.

Having a possibility to detect where the heat comes from, what are structural weak-spots of a burning building and ultimately to spot humans hiding from the blaze obscured by the thick smoke, is in firefighting context, priceless.

Human obscured by smoke in burning building

Human obscured by smoke in burning building

Although human life is invaluable, it is unfortunate fact that insurance companies have put a price tag on it ($7.400.000 if you were wondering, according to this Business Insider article). That means that even if a fire department buys the most expensive drone available, equipped with the most advanced tools for firefighting, the return on investment will be equal to the real value of life – infinite.

Videos and pictures courtesy of Al Jazeera, Sky-Watch, Roswell Flight Test Crew and FLIR.