Drohne können Menschen lebenretten
Luk Boving
Luk Boving

Drones for humanitarian aid instead of war and destruction

There is no question that drones have incredible potential. It’s not without reason that global corporations such as Amazon are betting big on these versatile flying objects. Many experts also believe that drones have a promising future. In the future, they will be used for a wide variety of purposes. First and foremost, of course, in transportation – Amazon Packet deliveries, but also in the area of humanitarian aid operations.

Can drones save lives?

In many people’s minds, the idea of drones is tainted with war and suffering. Not without reason – because the U.S. military in particular has upgraded enormously in the area of combat drones over the past 10 years. The name alone of the most famous US military drone sounds terrifying ”MQ-Reaper”. In the meantime, we have to rethink, because threats turn out to be a helpful tool for us humans. There are already many successful deployments of so-called ”copters”. This is what the counterparts of military drones are colloquially called.

Start-ups such as Matternet from Silicon Valley or Mamabird have consequently specialized in building such copters. They are designed to provide provisions and medicines to people in emergency or crisis situations in remote areas. Such deliveries could also be made, for example, to war zones such as Ukraine or places hit by earthquakes, where it would be too dangerous for manned transports.

Humanitarian aid drones – German scientists are also involved

In the event of a disaster, it is extremely important for relief organizations to determine the extent of damage to building structures and traffic routes as quickly as possible. Scientists at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) have launched a project called ”Drones4Good” for this purpose. In the process, they are developing artificial intelligence (AI)-based technology in cooperation with various international institutions that will enable rapid drone-based analysis for disaster areas.

Tests are already being carried out in the field as part of the project. The ultimate goal, during a flight, the drones are to evaluate image data in real time, still in flight, in the event of an emergency at up to 140 km/h by means of an installed camera. The idea is that helpers on the ground will be sent extracted geo-information about the actual location of the affected region at lightning speed. This enables relief organizations not to lose valuable time to save lives.

These scenarios were already simulated in the fall of 2021. Dropping aid by drones without endangering people or infrastructure is also being perfected at full speed. In addition to search operations, they will be used in the future at large events, such as concerts or festivals, where there are large crowds. Air support is there to facilitate operations for medics on the ground. In summary, practice shows that drones can do far more than wage war.

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