By Pitching in to Help Storm Victims, Drones Earn New Respect

Among the drone owners involved in recovery efforts are the members of SWARM (Search With Aerial RC Multirotor), a volunteer group of UAV pilots focused on search and rescue, who sent volunteer crews to both Texas and Florida. Founded by California artist and UAV pilot Jim Bowers (whose alter ego is Demunseed on YouTube), SWARM is working under an emergency COA (Certificate of Authorization) to fly what the Red Cross calls Neighborhood Damage Assessments. A COA allows drone flights at locations, times and altitudes that aren’t normally permitted. Though SWARM had not deployed before the storms, the group quickly dispatched its members to Florida as Hurricane Irma departed the area.

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