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Sometimes, Drones Protect Life Instead of Destroying It

Sometimes, Drones Protect Life Instead of Destroying It

In 2013, we’ve seen humankind’s capability of murdering innocent people through the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, that can seek and destroy targets just about anywhere in the world — all while being controlled by a pilot sitting in a dark room thousands of miles away.

So the question is, can this technology, already put to such diabolical use for political reasons, actually be used for good? There are several projects that utilize UAVs in ways that protect life rather than destroying it. In most cases, the aircraft are being used in remote areas where conservation and protection of endangered species is of utmost importance, but it’s impossible for officials to keep constant surveillance. Here are some cases where drones have helped to protect life.

Rhino Poaching

Africa’s National parks are protected zones, but limited resources and a sparse network of rangers responsible for monitoring hundreds of thousands of acres make it hard to track and capture poachers before their disgusting deed is accomplished. Earlier this year, Care2 reported on a Kenyan wildlife conservancy that was using unmanned aerial drones to look for would-be rhino killers. The drones are fitted with a live streaming HD camera, which is gimbal mounted for 360 degree remote controlled viewing. Rhinos and other protected species in the preserve are fitted with tracking chips. Sensors on the drones can then recognize individual animals and use on-board GPS to store an image tagged with location coordinates.

Medicine Delivery

Most of the world’s current transportation system depends on roads. If you live somewhere the roads don’t go, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to get aid from the outside world if it’s needed. This is the isolation faced by many in developing countries where infrastructure is sorely lacking. Matternet is a company working to leapfrog traditional infrastructure, using UAVs to deliver medicine and goods to places where roads are in disrepair, or simply don’t exist.

Crop Management

According to Take Part, “‘Michigan State University just acquired a drone that will fly over agricultural fields and monitor the health of farmers’ crops. This will allow farmers to better manage their fields, and to hopefully use less water, fertilizer and herbicides,’ said Bruno Basso, an ecosystem scientist at the university.” Although they’ve only been tested in Europe so far, the aerial farmers have been shown to be capable of measuring the nitrogen content of plants, whether or not they may need fertilizer, and if they need water, which could help conserve resources and prevent overuse of fertilizers.

Shark-Spotting

Shark attacks have become increasingly frequent along the Australian coast. Of course, the ocean is the shark’s habitat, and we’re the ones invading it, but since people won’t stop going to the beach any time soon, it’s important to find a way to coexist. In some parts of the country, officials are exploring the use of drones to scan the seas for potential predators, as well as swimmers and surfers who might be in trouble. Although shark attacks are gruesome and often fatal, they’re not as common as you might think. Which is why some have said that launching a drone program wouldn’t be cost effective. Surf Lifesaving Australia has been conducting a drone trial on Queensland beaches, not to search for sharks, but to help spot swimmers in trouble where lifesavers are not available

Fighting Wildfires

The past few years have seen a frightening uptick in out of control wildfires across the United States and around the world. Climate change, poor land management and invasive species all played their role in creating explosive conditions, and drones have been one of the most useful tools in fighting the blazes once they ignite. According to CNN, “Drones can help in two ways: They can safely gather more information about fire conditions than is currently available, and they can send that information to firefighters on the ground quickly.”

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73 comments

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12:20PM PST on Dec 20, 2013

Miss Mandy, You can thank Thomas Edison for the electric chair. He was trying to discredit Nicola Tesla's AC system so people would use Edison's DC system in stead.

Eventually Edison had to admit AC was a more economical way to create the electric grid we now enjoy.

9:53AM PST on Dec 20, 2013

thanks

3:28PM PST on Dec 19, 2013

Thanks.

12:51PM PST on Dec 19, 2013

"Sometimes drones protect life" yep just keep telling yourself that while the bombs are falling.

2:33AM PST on Dec 19, 2013

Well no bloody duh! MOST inventions that have been used to take life where originally designed to help make life easier. The guy who invented TNT was devastated when people started using it to blow up other people rather than using it for mining has he had intended, the same story is seen with electricity. It was first thought of and used in order to make our lives better but some other person decided that it would be awesome to make an electric chair to execute others with. Nuclear power was the same story originally intended to help us and then used as a weapon. Drones are no different from anything else in this respect, they would have been intended to make life easier not necessarily originally intended to take life. We're so use to the violent and misuse of these things that we forget why they where invented in the first place, in short much of modern society is ignorant, stupid and full of the fear the media and politicians have been drilling into us.

7:56PM PST on Dec 18, 2013

I think drones will cause many problems just as technology has. Too many innocent people have died already.

5:26PM PST on Dec 18, 2013

You don't say.

8:55AM PST on Dec 18, 2013

They're here to stay, that's the only thing I'm certain of.

4:50AM PST on Dec 18, 2013

thank you

7:45PM PST on Dec 17, 2013

Like any technology, it's the user who makes it good or bad. Unfortunately, the US government's first and foremost interest in anything is using it as a weapon. But drones could be used for good purposes as well. I've thought for some time that these small drones with cameras and/or spotlights could be used by police departments in smaller towns like mine that can't afford helicopters for tracking fugitives on the run. Granted, that same drone could be used to spy on someone as well. That's one of the drawbacks - if you spot a drone flying overhead, you have no way of knowing what it is being used for. After all these things are sold as toys for kids as well. It's just too bad that our untrustworthy and extremely deceitful government has made us all so paranoid, but there's good reason for that paranoia.

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