Flying to the rescue

Philip Mason speaks to two companies determined to demonstrate that the global deployment of drone technology goes far beyond hunting down terrorists

Drones, otherwise known as UAVs (unmanned autonomous vehicles), have been known to attract a certain amount of bad press, particularly when deployed by ‘global’ actors.

This is no probably no surprise, given that one of the technology’s most popular uses thus far – at least on the part of governments – has been to destroy terrorist encampments, often resulting in civilian ‘collateral damage.’ At the same time, the terrorists themselves have also adopted their use, with ISIS apparently threatening to bomb venues at this year’s World Cup using home-made devices.

UAV technology holds more than just the potential to destroy however, with a variety of companies now developing solutions aimed, by contrast, at saving lives. These more ‘socially conscious’ uses include the convenient and efficient supply of aid to disaster zones, as well as the employment of drones to rid the oceans of plastics.

Choked and entangled
According to figures released by Greenpeace, each year an estimated 12.7 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the world’s oceans. This “plastic soup,” as the organisation refers to it, “chokes and entangles” sea life, while also making its way into the food chain via the numerous creatures which mistake it for a source of nourishment.

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