UAVs and their life saving abilities
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are today used in a variety of ways in very different sectors. They are the center in many newly started businesses and are also easily acquired for personal use. As a company working with control systems, we are interested in the technology behind the UAVs, as when we developed the control system for a UAV flying indoors or when we developed swarm behavior. But it is also worth thinking about how to use the technology in a wider sense, such as saving lives.
Earlier this month WARA PS, a part of the WASP arena, demonstrated an autonomous search-and-rescue system used at sea. This was done with one UAV automatically searching for people in the water while transmitting aerial images to the rescue center. An autonomous boat followed by a second UAV showing the situation closer to the water surface was guided by the first UAV when a person , in the water; thus making it possible for the person in the water to be saved by the boat.
Almost the same procedure is used when finding people on land. One UAV systematically scans a predetermined area for missing people. If a person in need is found, a second UAV is contacted which flies to the destination and releases a help package, such as a phone or medicine. All of this is performed automatically.
In January this year, a UAV dropped lifebuoys to swimmers in Australia who were in trouble, possible saving their lives.
But not only human lives can be saved by UAVs. Project Ngulia who aims to develop technical solutions to monitor rhinos and thus combat poaching are, among other solutions, looking at UAVs to support park rangers. This summer, a new agreement spanning over three years was signed between the Kenya Wildlife Service and Linköping University. Hopefully, UAVs can become a cost efficient and sustainable solution saving the black rhinos from extinction.
Some of the technologies used in the project are tested at Kolmården Wildlife Park, which is located in close proximity to the technical team at Linköping University while offering a realistic savannah. The test site also renders data that are not highly classified, which is the case in real parks and sanctuaries.
These are just a few examples of ongoing projects that uses UAVs to save lives. However, the sectors of UAV usage have increased greatly. They are now used in marketing, professional film making, construction, delivery, imaging, agriculture, family occasions, entertainment, inventory, weather forecast, environment, insurance, policing, sports and more.
The development and enhancements of UAVs are of great interest of Combine since it contains problems in one of our main fields of expertise. But equally interesting is how the UAVs are used, as saving lives and protecting wildlife are important steps in creating a better planet.