Pilotless pilot: Province funds Kamloops SAR for one year of drone use

By James Peters
December 9, 2016 - 11:14am Updated: December 9, 2016 - 6:20pm

KAMLOOPS — The province is funding a one year pilot project allowing two BC search and rescue organizations, including Kamloops Search and Rescue, to incorporate drones as part of their regular operations.

Volunteer Search Manager Alan Hobler says KSAR will partner with a local company, Hummingbird Drones, to carry out the project.

Hobler says pilotless aircraft can help volunteers look at areas that would be hazardous for human searchers.

"Another advantage of the drones we're using here in Kamloops is they're set up for infrared, which is effective for nighttime searching," said Hobler. "So they're able to search larger areas and higher hazard areas at nighttime, and can identify human targets."

Hobler adds Hummingbird has significantly lowered its price for the project, as it is more interested in having its technology applied in the field than turning a major profit in this instance.

"The province has put a lot of terms on us and on their use. A lot of it revolves around public privacy and ensuring we meet all the federal and provincial regulations around drone use," said Hobler. "They are quite stringent, so I'm glad that we're partnered with a professional drone company that already has all those qualifications and certifications."

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