DroneUp App Recruits Local Drones for Search & Rescue

An article in Inside Business, in The Hampton Roads Business Journal described Walker’s program.  When Walker first hit upon the idea, he noted from his own study of drone operations, that “They happened to be standing by and they happened to have a drone.” Walker demonstrated the app to several law enforcement members in Virginia on August 21. The app includes a map that shows the location of available drone operators within a given radius. In the demo, one of Walker’s neighbors simulated a missing person.

The demonstration was live and the “missing” person was Walker’s neighbor, who hid in her backyard till one of the drone pilots found her. A video feed of the last few seconds of the search was displayed on a screen.  According to Walker, less than 1 percent of drones are used for commercial purposes; the remaining 99 percent are used by hobbyists and enthusiasts. Those drones have the potential to be a positive impact on society, he said.  Walker noted, “Right now, there’s 120,000 to 150,000 drones flying in Virginia,” he said. “We believe by the end of 2018, there will be about a million drones flying in Virginia. That’s not an insignificant number.”

This is great news for Virginians, and we, at NREF, look forward to the program spreading to other states.