Search & Rescue

Search & Rescue

Disaster Recovery

While the field of unmanned search and rescue is still evolving the clear and immediate impact felt as a result of a disasters, both natural and man-made, calls for immediate action. In most cases, first-responder’s timely response can mean the difference between survival and loss of life. In the hours following Mother Nature’s most extreme events UAI’s aerial data collection services can aid search efforts to locate, recover, and collect critical data at ground zero.

Meteorological & Geological Events

In the early summer months of 2015, Texas experienced a significant increase in rainfall which resulted in the flooding of major cities like Dallas, Houston, Austin and other smaller areas in South Texas. One city that was severely affected by the flooding events was Wimberley, TX; a small town south of Austin. The severe flash-flood’s led to the catastrophic loss of life and displacement of families and their homes along the banks of the Blanco River. As an unwavering commitment to our state and community, UAI quickly mobilized within 3 hours to support search and recovery efforts to those in need. While the chance of recovering victims was a remote possibility, the value provided to ground search teams was immediately realized. UAI provided accurate, real-time mapping information of the destroyed river banks allowing teams to narrow search efforts and save hours navigating the severely devastated surrounding terrain.

Man-Made & Urban Destruction

Similar to the support that was provided in the wake of the flash-flooding events in Wimberley, the ability for advanced data collection tools to assist in personnel recovery and damage assessments is apparent for other man-made destruction events. When destruction occurs effecting populated structures like buildings, tunnels, train-wrecks, hazardous materials spills, and others; UAI’s intelligent data collection can be employed. Concentrated efforts involve search activities to locate and assess impermissible areas where humans or conventional tools cannot access. UAI’s sensors and data process analysis provide valuable reconnaissance and mapping capability to give first responders a unique perspective on the extent of damage to concentrate recovery operations. Other applications include estimation of debris volume and types to speed cleanup and show unaffected areas where residents may reenter without risk or harm.

Missing Persons

Known cases in which missing persons have been found involve the specific use of “drones”. Aerial sensors like electro-optic (daylight camera) and infrared (thermal sensing) allow search parties to search wide areas or austere locations in a fraction of the time as ground search teams. One example of humanitarian use of aerial data collection points to a missing child whose red shirt was spotted from a UAV flying ahead that was previously missed by ground search personnel. In this case, the presence of alligators in the swampy waters prohibited an ideal area search and highlighted the use of unmanned aerial sensors to search terrain from an aerial perspective.