Using Drones to Save Lives

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This blog post was provided by Matt Capobianco, GlobalMedic’s Deputy Director.

On January 12, 2010, a deadly earthquake rocked Haiti. The disaster claimed the lives of over 220,000 people, injured more than 300,000 others and left the 3.5 million people affected in its wake. GlobalMedic was one of the first response agencies on the ground. Working to deliver lifesaving aid as quickly as possible, the biggest obstacle we faced was the lack of information and physical access. Roads blocked by rubble and landslides, communities cut off by downed bridges, and lack of information on high priority locations all led to delays. It became clear that accessing an aerial view of the disaster zone would have drastically decreased our response time. More importantly, it would have helped us coordinate other agencies responding on the ground and direct aid efficiently and effectively to the people that needed it most.

Drawing from this experience, GlobalMedic launched its RescUAV program. When disaster strikes, better information is needed to help rescuers save lives. GlobalMedic’s RescUAV project is using innovation to provide this information. Through Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (drone) technology, we immediately gather better information that is used to make aid delivery more efficient, by providing:

  • Search and rescue
  • Situational awareness
  • Emergency mapping
  • Aid delivery

The impact that this program delivers through the application of innovation and technology has landed GlobalMedic as a finalist for the Google.Org Impact Challenge. This challenge recognizes the use of innovative technology to tackle some of the world’s biggest social challenges. From nearly 1,000 submissions across the country, GlobalMedic was selected as one of the top ten finalists – securing a grant for $250,000 CAD. We are now in the running for an additional $500,000 CAD. GlobalMedic will utilize this grant to expand its RescUAV program, and deploy it to every crisis the agency responds to internationally. This is truly a life saving opportunity. Voting is incredibly easy, its two clicks, and you can vote here.

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