Current Conditions

Mainly Sunny
23.6°C

Kamloops Search and Rescue tests potentially lifesaving drone technology

Robert Atwood and Richard Sullivan of Hummingbird Drones are pictured in this contributed photo.
Image Credit: Contributed/Hummingbird Drones/Lincoln Smith
November 21, 2015 - 1:00 PM

KAMLOOPS – Drones are getting a bad rap for everything from endangering aircraft and invading privacy, but a Kamloops company is using the technology to do good.

Hummingbird Drones is teaming up with Kamloops Search and Rescue to see if drones equipped with infrared cameras will help find people lost in the bush.

Search manager Alan Hobler says they will be testing out the unmanned aerial vehicles tonight, Nov. 21, at their regular weekly training exercise to see how effective they are.

The hope is they will be able to find missing people faster with less risk to the searchers.

Hobler does expect the heat seeking technology to have some limitations. He says bad weather may hamper the drone’s flight or the tree canopy might block heat signatures from the missing people. As well, the infrared camera might not see a person wrapped in a survival blanket or who is heavily dressed.

Despite the possible technological limits, he is cautiously optimistic.

“This could definitely be a game changer,” Hobler say. “At the very least it’s going to enhance our ability to search and it’s going to be an extra tool for us to use out there.”

Hummingbird Drones was started by students from Thompson Rivers University and won the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Start Up Canada for their work with B.C. Wildfire Management last summer.

Hobler says they successfully used the drones to find spot fires at night, which is something infrared equipped helicopters can’t do after dark.

He spoke to the people from Hummingbird last night and they told him just the thought their technology could save somebody’s life was absolutely thrilling to them.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Howard Alexander at halexander@infonews.ca. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

  • Popular penticton News
  • Comments
  • Body of missing Cache Creek fire chief found
    CACHE CREEK - The body of Clayton Cassidy has been found. Around 10:30 p.m. yesterday, May 27, members of the Ashcroft fire department found his body during a patrol of Cache Creek, accordin
  • TRENDING NOW: Instant karma for angry dog walker
    When crossing a street we all pay attention to a car pulling up to an intersection, but this man seems to get really riled up for some reason. Of course, his threatening behaviour is under c
  • No, Okanagan Lake will not peak this weekend
    If you’re confused about projections for what Okanagan Lake is going to do over the next few weeks, you’re not alone. The City of Penticton issued a media release yesterday, May
  • Trinket hunters blamed for targeting ghost town cemetery in southern B.C.
    COALMONT, B.C. - Someone is digging holes in the cemetery of a ghost town in southern British Columbia and a member of the local historical society believes it's the work of misguided treasure
  • UPDATE: Kamloops teen found
    UPDATE: 9:38 A.M., MAY 28, 2017 RCMP say the 18-year-old has been located. All personal information has been removed. 9:35 A.M., MAY 27, 2017 KAMLOOPS - Kamloops police are looking for a mis
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile