Drones Really Do Find People in Search-and-Rescue Missions

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
July 23 2014 12:01 PM

Drones Really Do Find People in Search-and-Rescue Missions

454457103-quadcopter-drone-arrives-with-a-small-delivery-at
Quadcopters can search from the skies.

Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Though drones are controversial, they can definitely do good sometimes. Last week a Colorado man went to visit his girlfriend in Wisconsin and brought with him a drone, which he uses to film snow sport videos. And according to Gigaom, he ended up finding a missing person after offering to assist in a search-and-rescue effort.

David Lesh accidentally made a good argument for why consumer drones can be positive by being in the right place at the right time with his ski drone. He told NBC, “I never thought that I would be using it to find somebody.” The missing person was 82-year-old ophthalmologist Guillermo DeVenecia, who Lesh's drone spotted in a 200-acre bean field. The search and rescue had gone on for three days and had already involved dogs, hundreds of people, and a helicopter.

Advertisement

The rescue lends support to a movement against the FAA's strict commercial drone regulations, which essentially ban their use for organized search and rescue groups. The Texas-based company EquuSearch has been clashing with the FAA for months over drone bans and decided last week that it would simply ignore the FAA's warnings to stop using drones. A favorable ruling from a federal appeals court last week motivated EquuSearch to resume using its drones.

We already know why drones can be creepy and threaten privacy, but it’s hard to ignore the good side of their functions. The crucial thing here is just to avoid building a centralized, all-seeing eye of Sauron. I think we can all agree that that wasn't a good solution.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:58 PM The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

How Did the Royals Win Despite Bunting So Many Times? Bunting Is a Terrible Strategy.

Catacombs Where You Can Stroll Down Hallways Lined With Corpses

Homeland Is Good Again! For Now.

Crime

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

Trending News Channel
Oct. 1 2014 1:25 PM Japanese Cheerleader Robots Balance and Roll Around on Balls
  News & Politics
Crime
Oct. 1 2014 4:15 PM The Trials of White Boy Rick A Detroit crime legend, the FBI, and the ugliness of the war on drugs.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 3:02 PM The Best Show of the Summer Is Getting a Second Season
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 4:46 PM Ebola Is No Measles. That’s a Good Thing. Comparing this virus to scourges of the past gives us hope that we can slow it down.
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?