The Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD) has just published a report on Drones in Humanitarian Action. Funded by EU Humanitarian Aid, this report was a joint collaboration between FSD and several partners including the Humanitarian UAV Network (UAViators). WeRobotics co-founder Patrick Meier was also one of the co-authors of the FSD report. The study is an in-depth look into the use of drones in humanitarian crises. It is the first of its kind to determine if, how, and under what circumstances drones can add value to humanitarian operations in disaster areas.
The most promising uses of drones include:
- Delivering lightweight essential items to remote or hard to access locations
- Supporting damage assessments
- Increasing situational awareness
- Monitoring changes
The report reviews each application in detail, providing real world case studies of drones being used in humanitarian settings. According to the study, while mapping is the predominant function for drones in post-disaster work today, delivery is a rapidly growing field, and search & rescue is steadily gaining interest. The report highlights the benefits of drone use in humanitarian aid, such as the return on investment compared to other technologies, but also speaks the challenges they pose. These include the processing, analyzing, and storing of data, the lack of local capacity, and inadequate regulations. Overall – the value added by drones cannot be denied, and we are please to be a part of this work.