Several recent articles in the main stream press have brought attention to the growing role of drones in modern society. In large part, this expanding mission has been driven by advancements in remote sensing and modern autopilot and navigation systems. Two recent examples have included:
- Report on the start of Afghanistan field trials of the KMAX unmanned cargo delivery helicopter, and
- The "rescue" of Nome, Alaska by a Russian oil tanker aided by an "eyes-in-the-sky" drone.
However, within the realm of direct value to the Emergency Service Sector, Siemens and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been hard at work on a mini quadro-copter that will be capable of "producing digital models of complex interiors and inspecting inaccessible installations." Go here to read more.
Comment: Shortly after the first Gulf War, I was asked to provide comment on a planned U.S. Air Force project. The project's goal was determining feasibility of allowing one pilot to fly three other accompanying unmanned aircraft (think four aircraft flying together - with only one being manned). After considering the various military and commercial scenarios where this idea was going to be applied, my comment was: "Why don't you just sit in a bunker and fly the airplanes remotely". Looks like we are there.