Civilian Drone Enthusiasts Using Drone to Save Lives

World Today

They’re used for everything from surveillance to military operations. But the controversial use of unmanned drones, especially by the United States, has given drones a bad name in some circles. Now a growing group of civilian drone enthusiasts are coming up with new ways to use the technology that could save lives. CCTV”s Sean Callebs reports.

Civilian Drone Enthusiasts Using Drone to Save Lives

Civilian Drone Enthusiasts Using Drone to Save Lives

They're used for everything from surveillance to military operations. But the controversial use of unmanned drones, especially by the United States, has given drones a bad name in some circles. Now a growing group of civilian drone enthusiasts are coming up with new ways to use the technology that could save lives. CCTV"s Sean Callebs reports.
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They’re small, maneuverable, and increasingly getting cheaper and easier to afford. It is an equation that adds up to rapidly growing civilian drone use.

A Washington D.C. Area drone club held a mock, “search and rescue operation.” A glorified game of hide and seek with cardboard cutouts.

It was organized by Tim Reuter who has been seriously immersed in the world of drones for several years.

Michael Ender made the long trip from Houston, Texas to take part in the elaborate trial “search and rescue.” He has several thousand dollars invested in his outfit. But from up here – pinpointing anything is difficult. He found out the hard way–big trees can stop a speeding drone, and it isn’t pretty. So, it was into an ATV for a more plebeian game of search and rescue-to hopefully recover the drone.

In the United State,s the Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, is cracking down on use of drones for commercial reasons. Journalists who use drones to cover natural disasters face heavy fines.

This can turn dangerous, too. In the last couple of years there have been a reported half-dozen near misses involving civilian drones and commercial airplanes.

Michael Ender did track down his drone, and understands the concerns–even the well intention can cause more harm than good.

So for now this search and rescue will remain trial and error. And the day when drones are used by ‘first responders’ – is still out of reach.

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