Humanitarian Drones: Bots Without Borders

In the next ten years, the Teal Group estimates that the unmanned aircraft vehicle (UAV) market will total US$91 billion. But drones don’t just affect the world financially, and they don’t just work for the military.

The World Wildlife Fund uses drones to prevent poaching in Namibia. In Kenya, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy uses UAV thermal imaging to track endangered animals.

Drones can plant seeds and pollinate crops. Through better crop management, and precise irrigation, UAVs can help eliminate famine worldwide.

Drones can save lives by delivering essential medical supplies without getting stuck in traffic.

‘The ambulance drone can get a defibrillator to a patient inside a 12 km² zone within one minute. This response speed increases the chance of survival following a cardiac arrest from 8% to 80%,’ said Alec Momot, creator of the Ambulance Drone, now in tests in the Netherlands.

Doctors Without Borders and UNICEF have used drones to assess damage and find survivors in disaster regions too rugged or dangerous for human search parties. Authorities dispatched drones after Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines to monitor survivors and find people washed out to sea.

Though the highly manoeuvrable, endlessly adaptable machines are the newest tool in humanitarian aid, they are proving essential. In February, the UAE held the first Drones for Good Challenge, with a US$1 million prize.

Drones assisted the 2014 MOAS mission. Two Schiebel Camcopter S-100s flew up to 150 miles per hour, spotting and monitoring distressed vessels.

With thermal imaging capability, UAVs don’t have to quit when the sun goes down. The machines can cover huge amounts of ocean faster than any boat, and relay images and information in real time. With reduced patrolling in the migrant shipping lanes this summer, UAVs would expedite and streamline the Search and Rescue process.

But UAVs are expensive.

From the success of last year’s mission, we know how effective drones can be at saving lives. Will you help us?

MOAS has proved they can respond, coordinate and assist in Search and Rescue. We are looking to fund the 2015 season and look forward to discussing this topic further. Contact me at