When you turn on the evening news, chances are you may hear an unpleasant story about an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or "drone" as the news loves to call them, doing something awful or spying on someone. But when do we get to hear about the good this technology is capable of? The short answer is today!
A press release came in from Draganfly Innovations Inc. yesterday that highlighted how one of their FPV multirotor rigs helped the RCMP locate a man with a severe head injury.
In the early hours of the morning, a driver injured in a single vehicle rollover became lost and unresponsive in the wooded area off of a Canadian highway. After an unsuccessful attempt on the part of a STARS Air Ambulance, the injured driver was rescued after being spotted by a FLIR (Forward Looking Infra-Red) camera carried by a Draganflyer X4-ES quadrotor UAV.
Saskatoon, SK – May 09, 2013
In the early hours of the morning, a driver injured in a single vehicle rollover became lost and unresponsive in the wooded area off of a Canadian highway. STARS air ambulance searched the area and was unable to locate the subject using their night vision goggles. The RCMP arrived on-site with the Draganflyer X4-ES system, coordinated their flight with the full size aircraft, and quickly located the driver using the Draganflyer helicopter equipped with a small FLIR thermal imaging camera.
After being called in at 00:20 hours on May 9, 2013, Saskatoon RCMP investigated the scene of a single vehicle rollover, finding only indications that at least one person had been in the vehicle and was injured. The accident scene was located on Highway #5, 5km east of St. Denis, Saskatchewan, which is about 35km from Saskatoon.
RCMP worked with St. Denis and Vonda Fire Rescue teams and EMS personnel from MD Ambulance. A search of the ground within 200 meters of the scene did not turn up anything. A STARS Air Ambulance was called in and conducted an aerial night vision search of 1000 meters surrounding the area, also without result.
Corporal Doug Green, a Forensic Collision Reconstructionist, equipped with a Draganflyer X4-ES UAV was called in. The Draganflyer UAV located three heat signatures and upon investigating the first, the injured driver was found curled up and unresponsive at the base of a tree next to a snow bank. He was wearing only pants and a t-shirt, having lost his shoes.
The searchers indicated that without the Draganflyer UAV, they would not have been able to locate the driver until daylight. Because of the near freezing temperatures, it is possible that the injured driver would not have survived until then due to hypothermia. Zenon Dragan of Draganfly Innovations Inc., the manufacturer of the UAV, states “to our knowledge, this is the first time a public safety agency has saved a life using a sUAS (small Unmanned Aerial System) helicopter”.
|Single Vehicle Rollover -- Saskatoon RCMP Search for Injured Driver with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (1 min 56 sec)|
Wow, awesome. My second thought was; "Dang, bet that FLIR cost a pretty penny, but it's a drop of water in a pond as a life is priceless." And I bet it was nothing compared to scrambling an aircrew, and the cost of just spooling up a full sized copter would buy a fleet of multirotors.
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