University professor gets to work on life-saving drone programme

Dr. Suzanne Smith

University of Kentucky professor Suzanne Smith is working on a drone programme which could be potentially life-saving.

Smith is using her UAS expertise as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies 2018 Mayors Challenge, a programme which recognises innovative ideas aimed at tackling urgent problems.

After an application process for US cities with a population of over 30,000, the City of Louisville was listed as a finalist of this year’s competition with a crime fighting drone dispatch idea.

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Louisville’s murder rate has spiked in recent years and after a development process, the idea of deploying drones to detected gunshot locations emerged.

When on location, the drones would identify injured persons and rapidly dispatch sufficient emergency medical staff in aim to prevent fatality.

Following its listing as a finalist, Louisville was awarded $100,000 to implement public prototypes during a six-month testing phase.

If Louisville is selected by the Bloomberg programme, the University of Kentucky has confirmed that it will help with UAS flight testing and preparing applications for FAA approvals.

Professor Smith said: “As we wait for the announcement, our flight-testing efforts toward building the safety case for the authorizations are already underway. The University of Kentucky has multiple FAA flight authorizations including a waiver for night flight and working toward our next goal of securing authorization for beyond-line-of-sight flight.”

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Alex Douglas

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