Qube: a remote controlled-device to help improve rescue efforts

Qube-Unmaned aerial system for search and rescue

It’s called the Qube and it’s a state-of-the-art unmanned aircraft made by the Monrovia, Calif.-based technology company AeroVironment and is intended to be a new high-tech tool for public safety agencies across the U.S.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office wants to bring the Qube to local skies to help search-and-rescue teams find people lost or hurt in the surrounding mountains.

It could also be used by the Ventura County Fire Department in the event of a wildfire or other emergency situation.

Capt. Don Aguilar of the sher- iff’s office said the Qube could be used in certain situations instead of one of the department’s helicopters, a far costlier option than the battery-operated aircraft.

The craft might able to drop a cellphone or a small package of food or water to a stranded hiker.

There are a number of steps the county police agency must take before the Qube can be tested locally. The sheriff’s office is in the early stages of applying to the Federation Aviation Administration for a certification of authorization, an agreement between the the sheriff and the FAA determining how and where deputies can use the Qube.

Equipped with high-resolution and thermal imaging cameras, the 3-foot-wide Qube comes with a tablet computer controller and a price tag of about $50,000.

Although unmanned aircraft, often called drones, have been used since the 1990s by the military for surveillance and for bombing, it has only been since late 2011 that drones have been flown in U.S. airspace by public agencies.

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Moreover, in Februrary, Reason TV covered a California public protection committe meeting in which it was announced that it was planned on using an unmaned aerial system for search and rescue. Click here to watch the video.