Drone technologies are playing an important role in supporting human efforts to respond more effectively to emergency situations.

In the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, a ‘drone pilot program’ was set up through a collaboration between the UPS Foundation, the American Red Cross and drone manufacturer CyPhy Works. The initiative is harnessing data and information from tethered drones to assess damage and enable organisations involved in the recovery and rebuilding phases to react rapidly and efficiently.

“With such catastrophic injury and damage being caused by natural disasters, every minute counts. It’s essential that public and private organizations work together to find new and innovative solutions to support and enhance recovery efforts after a natural disaster strikes,” explained Eduardo Martinez, president of The UPS Foundation and chief diversity and inclusion officer. “Accurately and quickly assessing the impact is a critical step to help save lives and lay the groundwork for eventual recovery and rebuilding. The UPS Foundation is pleased to bring together, fund and support this effort, in partnership with CyPhy Works and the American Red Cross.”

It is the latest example of drones doing good.

Farmers Insurance is using a fleet of unmanned aerial aircraft systems (UAS) – supplied by Kespry – to speed up inspections and reduce the number of risky situations faced by its inspectors. The Government of Malawi and UNICEF are partnering on a new drone initiative to gauge how effective unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are in supporting humanitarian efforts. While a study in Sweden shows drones could potentially play a life saving role in responding quickly to people who suffer cardiac arrests. And in Australia they are being used to spot killer sharks around the country’s stunning beaches.