Search and Rescue with Dogs and Drones
Given their rapidly expanding use cases, it comes as no surprise that drones are continually being adopted for use in search and rescue missions. As experts in Switzerland are deploying the technology, they have realized that through the use of drones they can find people much quicker, which in many cases will save lives. While that, of course, is reason enough to adopt the technology, the use of drones will also provide the added benefits of making searches much quicker, and less costly. In a simulated search and rescue, a large UAV was used to fly over the Swiss Alps.
The rescue drill took place on the same day that a landslide on the Piz Cengalo mountain in the Swiss Alps left eight people missing. “The main benefit is to gain more time, to be more efficient and to be faster to find the missing person,” said Dominique Peter, a pilot with the Swiss Federation of Civil Drones, on Geo TV. The drones used are equipped with high-definition, infrared cameras, which can quickly survey large open areas, leaving the dogs to search in wooded territory where the drones would have difficulty flying. Used in coordination, the drone operators can communicate with the dog handlers to advise on which direction to go based on what is found in the drone images.
UAVs have the ability to fly at high speeds, letting them cover large distances quickly. “This can save lives,” Peter said. For nearly a year, the Federation has been working with the Swiss Association for Search and Rescue Dogs (Redog). Since then drones have assisted with 12 out of 22 Redog missions. “This allows us to have an eye in the air and a nose on the ground,” said Redog president Romaine Kuonen according to Geo TV. Redog’s goal is to have drones be a part of all their future missions.