Unmanned Aircraft Systems for Emergency Management: A Guide for Policy Makers and Practitioners [open pdf - 1MB]
From the thesis abstract: "Responding to disasters is a critical function for first responders and the emergency management community. The primary mission when responding to disasters is saving lives, which often requires the use of multiple resources. Rotary and fixed-winged aircraft have traditionally performed disaster response missions, such as overhead damage assessments, reconnaissance, and missing person searches. However, with the advancement of unmanned aircraft systems (UASs), there is an opportunity to perform many conventional aerial missions in a safer, more expeditious, and cost-effective manner. This thesis explores the introduction of UASs for disaster response missions into the national airspace system of the United States. It includes a review of traditional disaster response missions and opportunities for the utilization of UASs; a comparison of UAS programs, both military and civilian, as well as international UAS programs; and a review of barriers to implementation. It also offers policy and program considerations for agencies and jurisdictions to consider when implementing a UAS program, and it recommends future research concerning the topic of autonomous UASs. Lastly, this thesis provides a decision guide to assist policy makers and practitioners with determining the need and feasibility of a UAS program."
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