Columns and Commentary

Qwick Takes: How is drone tech changing lives for the better?

January 24, 2022

Posted by Irina Slav

This week on, Deputy Editor Erica Thompson reached out to Qwoted’s community of experts to ask them how drone technology is changing lives for the better?

Check out some of the top commentary:


Sundus Shahid Bari, Associate Director of Strategy & Planning at Blitz Advertising

Around the world, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are flown for fun, military purposes, or commercial reasons. Increasingly, UAVs are being used to save lives and the planet. Notable examples include when drone pilots with The Flying Labs contained the spread of tuberculosis in Nepal by transporting test samples quickly and safely over mountainous areas. The same team worked to restore Panama’s mangrove forests by using a drone to release 750 seed balls across a hectare of land in under five minutes. Traditional hand planting is labor-intensive and costly, whereas the use of UAVs sped up replanting efforts. A similar deployment in Kenya helped reforest the land around nine villages by dropping seed balls from the air across agricultural land that had been degraded due to unsustainable farming practices, wood fuel harvesting, and deforestation. In 2019, the Ministry of Climate Change in Pakistan used smart drones to tackle Pakistan’s major deforestation problem under the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami project, by planting trees economically and more efficiently as compared to hand planting. In another example, WeRobotics worked with the World Mosquito Program to develop a temperature-controlled aerial release mechanism for drones, to fight dengue fever in Fiji.”

Sean Connor, Business Development Lead at MissionGO

Unmanned aircraft, also known as drones, offer tremendous lifesaving value to the public. At MissionGO Unmanned Systems, we are utilizing unmanned aircraft to provide aerial inspections of critical infrastructure to help mitigate wildfires, to train public safety agencies in more safely and efficiently performing emergency services like search and rescue, and to deliver critical medical cargo, including organs and blood, for patients in urgent need. Each of these applications are helping to save countless lives through more advanced performance that results in faster, safer and more dependable outcomes using unmanned aircraft technology.

Therese Schachner, Cyber Security Consultant at VPN Brains

One way in which drones are being used to save lives is through disaster relief efforts. Drones can conduct tasks that are unsafe or infeasible for humans but necessary for disaster relief. For example, drones can navigate through high-risk areas and use thermal cameras to identify survivors in areas impacted by disaster. Drones can be used to assess damage and identify areas that have been impacted the most so that adequate assistance can be deployed to these areas. This assistance often includes first responders and drone-delivered medical supplies. Drones can also be used to predict the course of natural disasters, such as floods, so that disaster relief forces can prepare in advance to help people located on the projected trajectories.

Romeo Durscher, VP of Public Safety at Auterion

Public Safety is an area where drones make a real impact. With drones, Search and Rescue missions have an aerial view and even a thermal camera to see body heat at night, resulting in a faster search compared to sending people on the ground. Fire departments are able to quickly identify hotspots and law enforcement is able to more quickly re-open roads after accidents due to quicker drone-assisted accident assessment. For these emergency responders, drones save lives while also mitigating risks to members of their teams as well.

Drones have also been very helpful during disaster response and recovery. Hurricane Harvey (2017), Tubbs Wildfire in Santa Rosa, CA (2017), Carr Wildfire in Redding, CA (2018), and the Camp Wildfire in Paradise, CA (2018) were the first big examples of how drones assisted in very challenging environments. From search and recovery, to high-resolution mapping of burned neighborhoods and towns, to situational awareness, these aerial robots have been very impactful tools. Even during a wildfire, drones are being used at the fire line, to help spot hotspots via a thermal imager. This very effective way to better control the spread of the wildfire not only saves lives and properties, but also further reduces the loss of woodland and decreases the emission through burning trees.

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