GlobalMedic | Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

This article was originally written and submitted as part of a Canada 150 Project, the Innovation Storybook, to crowdsource stories of Canadian innovation with partners across Canada. The content has since been migrated to Ingenium’s Channel, a digital hub featuring curated content related to science, technology and innovation.

GlobalMedic is partnering with the industry leading, Waterloo-based Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) manufacturer Aeryon Labs to apply innovative Canadian technology to humanitarian response operations. UAV technology is evolving to play a large role in humanitarian response, allowing aid agencies to survey wide areas of damage from the air – offering a safer, less obtrusive and less expensive response method than the use of helicopters. The units record and transmit video in real time, even from the most remote locations. Imagery can identify flooded areas, obstructed roads, population movements, and damaged infrastructure. Images can be processed on-site to produce survey-grade 2D maps and 3D renders. Equipped with thermal cameras, UAVs can identify people trapped or injured, supporting life-saving search and rescue efforts.

In recent years, GlobalMedic has deployed UAVs and experienced pilots to respond to Typhoon Hagupit in the Philippines in 2014, the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal in 2015 and most recently the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Ecuador in 2016. The use of this technology greatly increased the efficiency and effectiveness of GlobalMedic’s response to these devastating disasters.

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GlobalMedic was founded in 1998 by Rahul Singh with the unique operational mandate of providing efficient, cost-effective and innovative disaster relief in the immediate aftermath of a catastrophe. Singh has combined a passion for humanitarian assistance with a frontline emergency perspective and has continuously focused on finding innovative Canadian solutions for challenges that arise in disaster contexts.