Your neighborhood quadcopter probably doesn't have the ability to launch Hellfire missiles, but just saying the word "drone" conjures up images of flying, buzzing death. But what about drones' potential for saving lives?
We've seen how drones can be a crucial asset to search and rescue operations, but Iran's RTS Lab has taken an entirely new angle. RTS's Pars drone carries a payload of life preservers that can be delivered to a drowning swimmer far faster than a lifeguard. As we saw in testing in the Caspian Sea, the drone can also work at night, using bright lights, thermal sensors, and a built-in camera to stream video to rescuers on shore.
The concept works well, and it's an excellent example of how powerful drones—which are cheaper and easier to use than just about any other aerial delivery vehicle—can actually be. Here in the US, where the FAA remains steadfast in its desire to squelch the nascent commercial drone industry, this Iranian drone built of Chinese parts sets an example of what can be done when we set our eyes to the skies to do good.