Unmanned planes look for Katrina survivors

Sep 15, 2005

Unmanned, small aircraft were being used this week to search for survivors of Hurricane Katrina in the first domestic use of such surveillance vehicles.

Providing speed, portability and access, two unmanned aerial vehicles surveyed storm-damaged communities in Mississippi searching for trapped survivors.

"The two UAVs packed a one-two punch," said Robin Murphy of the University of South Florida and director of the National Science Foundation-supported Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue. "The fixed-wing provided a quick overview of an area over several miles, but the use of the miniature helicopter to hover by buildings and on roofs -- and to takeoff straight up -- really offers new functionality."

One of the UAVs is a 4-foot-long airplane with mounted video and thermal imagery cameras that can capture details from as far away as 1,000 feet.

The other UAV used in the search is a camera-equipped, miniature, electric helicopter that can hover at heights approaching 250 feet and zoom its camera to peer inside windows or scan distant rooftops.

Within two hours, the vehicles reportedly provided responders with information indicating no survivors were trapped and cresting floodwaters did not pose an additional threat.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: NASA issues 'remastered' view of Jupiter's moon Europa

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A new, flying jellyfish-like machine (w/ Video)

Nov 24, 2013

Up, up in the sky: It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a... jellyfish? That's what researchers have built—a small vehicle whose flying motion resembles the movements of those boneless, pulsating, water-dwelling creatures.

3D printer-built robot has insect moves (w/ Video)

Aug 03, 2013

(Phys.org) —Some robotics experts focused on biomimicry have turned to work in tech hives where their tiny robots are designed to imitate the moves of insects. At UC Berkleley's Biomimetic Millisystems ...

Recommended for you

NASA issues 'remastered' view of Jupiter's moon Europa

20 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Scientists have produced a new version of what is perhaps NASA's best view of Jupiter's ice-covered moon, Europa. The mosaic of color images was obtained in the late 1990s by NASA's Galileo ...

European space plane set for February launch

Nov 21, 2014

Europe's first-ever "space plane" will be launched on February 11 next year, rocket firm Arianespace said Friday after a three-month delay to fine-tune the mission flight plan.

Space station rarity: Two women on long-term crew

Nov 21, 2014

For the 21st-century spacewoman, gender is a subject often best ignored. After years of training for their first space mission, the last thing Samantha Cristoforetti and Elana Serova want to dwell on is the ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.