Red Cross launches first USA drone program for disasters

The American Red Cross plans to start using drones over Houston to find areas still in need of assistance after Hurricane Harvey. September, 2016 UPS and CyPhy works conducted a test of delivery of urgently needed medicines to remote hard to access the location off the coast of MA. The pilot program will be the first drone-centric disaster relief program in the country. “Accurately and quickly assessing the impact is a critical step to help save lives”. The tethered drone is powered by a generator and can fly for days at a time. The CyPhy drones employ a technology it calls PARC™ (Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications), which “uses a patented microfilament system to deliver secure communication”. The partnership said that the drone would now be deployed to conduct a one-week test in an area “badly affected by flooding”, which was not named.

The use of commercial drones to hover over the destruction from Harvey has ushered in an unprecedented test of an unmanned aircraft’s ability to assess billions of dollars in damage for the insurance industry and accelerate payouts for harried policyholders.

The American Red has teamed up with the UPS Foundation and drone manufacturer CyPhy Works to bring drones to sites of natural disasters.

How this is to work is by fixing the drones to the ground to evaluate damages through constant aerial observations.

The hope is that it will be able to “allow the extent of damages to be understood” faster. And, last September, UPS and CyPhy Works conducted a test using a drone for delivery of urgently needed medical products to a remote, difficult-to-access location off the coast of MA.

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