The field of humanitarian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has moved forward at a tremendous pace since Direct Relief and DanOffice first experimented with the technology during Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines 14 months ago. New applications have emerged, from mapping to multi-spectral sensing to goods transport. Software innovations have improved coordination, data sharing, and analysis. Significant improvements in hardware, from vehicles to batteries to sensors, has also expanded the field of potential use cases. Meanwhile, costs have continued to decrease, bringing UAVs closer than ever to routine applications for a wide range of individuals and organizations.
Direct Relief, in collaboration with NetHope, has closely tracked these developments and helped to facilitate new implementations of humanitarian UAVs through a working group and regular webinar series on the subject. Over the course of seven months, presenters that include the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UAViators, 3D Robotics, Esri, and Singularity University have weighed the implications of humanitarian UAVs from the standpoint of policy, law, technology, and data analysis.
Next Wednesday at 11 am EST, Matternet CEO Andreas Raptopoulos will join the webinar series to discuss the future of goods transport and his vision for the future of drone-based humanitarian transportation networks. Matternet’s approach to humanitarian drone deployment, based on case studies from Bhutan to Haiti, is among the most interesting and well developed in the field. Raptoploulos is sure to offer a fascinating perspective as he explains the possible and not-so-distant future for drones in emergency response.