The 5 Best Drone Features for Search & Rescue Missions

The 5 Best Drone Features for Search & Rescue Missions

By Drone USA, Posted in October 02, 2018

Search and rescue missions are needed all over the world, and can happen at any given moment. When people are in distress or imminent danger, special teams step in to perform search and rescue (SAR) missions. In these instances, rescue teams can use UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) to greatly improve their odds of success.

According to a DJI report released in April of this year, 65 people were rescued from peril thanks to drone technology used for search and rescue between May 2017 and April 2018. The report also states that 59 lives were saved using UAVs before May 2017, which brings the recent total of lives saved to 124. DJI also asserts that it is likely even more unreported drone SAR missions have occurred.

Search and rescue missions take place over all kinds of rough terrains, such as mountain ranges, rough waters, and even dangerous or war-ladened urban areas. When there is a natural disaster like a hurricane or an earthquake, drone technology can be incredibly helpful. Using a drone SAR to facilitate these missions is the way of the future. Here are the 5 best drone features which give search and rescue missions a better success rate.

Best Features for SAR Missions

Thermal Drones

Thermal drones provide some of the greatest assets for emergency SAR missions. In these instances, a UAV search and rescue drone enters the dangerous zone instead of first-responders and is able to locate hot spots on the ground by scanning certain areas. A thermal drone can also detect people in places with low visibility by using infrared or zoom cameras. A surveillance/SWAT team can use this feature to their advantage as well, especially when they are trying to sniff out a barricaded suspect  that may be hidden in a remote or hard to reach location.

Delivering Payloads

Anyone involved in search and rescue knows the importance of getting payloads delivered and doing so in the quickest way possible. When someone is stranded, time is paramount and often times, delivering payloads until an extraction can take place is the only option. Supplies delivered via payload can buy ample time for those in need until the rescue is complete.

Increased Security

Security is a huge concern, especially when a governmental or military organization is conducting a drone SAR. A great feature that search and rescue drones have are encrypted video links. They also come equipped with Nextgen GNSS combined with Galileo, which makes sure that you have accurate positioning at all times. Search and rescue drones also have an emergency landing feature, which utilizes a predetermined safe landing area should something go wrong during the mission. Emergency recovery and forbidden flight zone technologies are two additional ways to keep your search and rescue drone secure.


Automation features such as waypoint flying, which uses 3D coordinates like longitude, latitude, and altitude, give you more accurate positioning and the ability to pinpoint targets. Some other automated specs include click and fly, auto takeoff and landing, and RTK (Real Time Kinematics). RTK offers an additional level of accuracy with ultimate precision throughout the mission. When using drones for search and rescue, it’s also important to have altitude hold and point of interest (POI) navigation. POI navigation allows you to point at targets with a sensor.


The more straightforward and simplified you can make a mission, the better. When it comes to search and rescue drones and search and rescue missions, the stakes are high and things can be complicated; using features that make tasks more simple is of great help. With features like easy mapping geo-tagging and PPK (Post Processed Kinematics), which enhances the geo-tagging precision of your UAV search and rescue drone, these dangerous missions have the potential to go a lot more smoothly. Other great features to simplify your Drone SAR mission are dynamic position hold, a tracking shot saver, and telemetry information. Telemetry info ensures that your mission is going as planned.

The use of drone technology has proven to save lives. When used and implemented properly, drones can bring success to your missions and to your team.