UAV (drone) deployment in catastrophe relief situations could potentially save lives and help target limited or stretched resources. Cranfield UAV experts are conducting market analysis to understand what opportunities and challenges exist in the use of drones in relief efforts and for future scenario planning.

This project revolves around the opportunities and challenges involved in using UAV drones in catastrophe situation reporting and damage assessment, in order to align scientific, Governmental and industry R&D agendas. Cranfield’s expertise in this field will be utilised to understand the full potential and ramifications of UAV use.

One of the advantages of drones is that they give timely data as they can be deployed immediately in emergency situations (flooding, earthquakes, volcanoes, etc.), and can access hard-to-reach areas. This means that they can help to plan resources allocation and appropriate responses.

The project aims to understand the need for UAVs within the context of extent of damage, building on multiple channels (satellite imagery, personnel on the ground, emergency responses, etc.). UAV’s can then capture all this information and process into a service people can use in the aftermath and for planning future scenarios. This service would not only support emergency operations, but also longer term strategic planning, for instance civil services, energy providers, or insurers.

This multi-agency project brings together expertise from academia, data providers and the insurance industry. It links to previous research by Dr. Rivas Casado on the use of UAVs for flood extent mapping and damage assessment.