Can These Swarming Drones Improve Disaster Response?

The tiny drones build a map of a building's environment to give first responders a look inside.

Photo Caption: One of a number of tiny drones being used by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are working on tiny drones that can be deployed inside of a building after a natural disaster to give first responders a look inside.

Here’s how it works. A larger drone drops off several of the tiny drones into the disaster area. Those drones, which can communicate with each other, create a map of the inside of the building and relay information about air quality, temperature, radiation, etc. The drones are

The larger drone, which can fly for about 30 minutes, will have a built-in camera to provide a live video link.

Pie Zhang, an associate professor at CMU leading this research, says it will be about 10 years until this technology will be in the hands of rescue workers.

“We can put a lot of these inside a building,” Zhang says. “They can fly into walls, and because they are light they’ll hit the wall and nothing will happen, but [the drone] will know where the wall is and communicate that.”

[Source:] PC World

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Steve Crowe · Steve Crowe is managing editor of Robotics Trends. Steve has been writing about technology since 2008. He lives in Belchertown, MA with his wife and daughter.
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