The drone industry has had it’s share of negative press to date: stories about pilot mishaps and fear-based articles about the power of drone technology.
While those articles are sure to get clicks, that type of negative content underserves the drone community at large for a few reasons. First, there are only a small minority of pilots that fly where and in ways that they shouldn’t. Second – and perhaps most importantly – the amazing ways that drones are a force for good never seem to receive as much media attention.
Here are just a few examples of drones doing good that deserve greater recognition.
Until Elon Musk starts colonizing Mars, we’ve only got one planet. There are loads of examples of how drones are helping to preserve the environment, protect endangered species and generally support the work of conservationists.
Did you know about the drones being deployed across Africa to help protect elephants and rhinos from illegal poaching? Air Shepherd is one organization doing exactly that. Using unmanned aerial vehicles to cover huge areas or ground, the team can spot poachers from above and pass on their location to park rangers.
As we’ve written about before, drones can also help to gather data and monitor wildlife populations in extreme environments. Ocean Alliance has customized drones to act as flying petri dishes, collecting whale snot from above to analyse back in the lab.
You can see a clip from the team’s recent expedition to Alaska below, which had a little help from drone industry giant Intel.
Another interesting example is a project that started at Harvard and culminated deep in the Amazon rainforest.
The Amazon Basin plays a big role in storing and absorbing billions of tons of carbon dioxide every year, so it goes without saying that the area is vital to the health of the planet.
As Earth continues to get warmer, droughts, wildfires and changing weather pose a huge threat to the Amazon – on top of the deforestation caused by logging and mining. Dying trees release carbon into the atmosphere. This is the Amazon; there are a lot of trees.
The fear is that we’re nearing tipping points that could release massive amounts of stored carbon into the atmosphere.
But to know for sure, scientists from Harvard are ‘smelling the forest’, using drones as part of an early warning system to monitor changes and gather evidence. If that isn’t important work, we don’t know what is.
Floods, fires, hurricanes and earthquakes. These are just a few examples of events that leave devastation in their wake and require a huge effort from communities and officials to get things back to normal.
Drones can make a difference. A good recent example is the work undertaken by FLYMOTION following Hurricane Irma’s arrival in Florida last year. 22 crews carried out hundreds of damage assessments state-wide to limit the effects of the hurricane and help get vital services back online.
Search and Rescue
It’s clear that drones are having a positive impact on some of the big problems facing us as a whole, from poaching to conservation challenges to climate change. But they are also making a difference on an individual level.
Just last month, footage from Australia showed a successful drone rescue of two swimmers in trouble. The Little Ripper drone was piloted by a lifeguard and called to action following a distress call.
In a matter of minutes, it was able to spot the swimmers and drop an inflatable to help them get to shore.
You can watch that footage here:
There are plenty of examples of drones coming to the rescue around the world. DJI released a report last year estimating that at least 59 people owed their lives to drone technology.
It’s funny to think that the pilots of each of these life-saving, world-changing drone projects started from scratch, with no professional skills at all.
Flying for DroneBase is an ideal way to take your flying to the next level. The first step is being paid to guide an eye in the sky. Who knows what might come next? Take a look at our Pilot page for more information.