The Spokane Review touts the potential benefits of drones with respect to police investigations. "Olsen said the drones would be used for investigating crime and crash scenes through aerial mapping and could also be used to track down people who were missing or fleeing from law enforcement at night through thermal imaging. Drones could be used to search for people at difficult-to-access locations, such as along the Spokane River, or to monitor dangerous hostage situations or bomb incidents. Once the department purchases drones, they would be used by the SWAT team or investigation units, and in north and south Spokane. The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office has already purchased two drones and has been training with the devices for about a month, Spokane County Undersheriff Dave Ellis said. The drones, which are upgraded versions of what is commonly available on the market, are equipped with accident reconstruction and thermal imaging software."
Bloomberg reports that a fleet of drones is being deployed to identify and fix damage caused by Hurricane Florence. "With the remnants of Hurricane Florence continuing to deluge the southeastern U.S., a small army of drones is being deployed to identify and fix damage caused by flooding. At least 53 drone teams have been recruited to help with damage assessment, said Brian Reil, a spokesman for Edison Electric Institute, the Washington-based industry group coordinating utility recovery efforts. Each team usually brings more than one drone and the force collectively includes about 100 to 160 operators, he said. While the storm has weakened into a tropical depression, Florence continued to dump record rainfall while areas of North Carolina are experiencing unprecedented flooding. Hundreds of roads have been shut in the region, making it dangerous or difficult to access areas to restore power. 'Drones are being used in the communities where the wind and rain have died down,' Reil said in an email Monday. 'In many cases, crews are not able to gain access to the most heavily damaged and flooded areas until the storm clears and it is deemed safe for them to enter.'"
An article in Smithsonian Magazine notes that a Rice University project using drones' sensors and AI are being used to find and track harmful gases. "Not a week goes by, it seems, without more news of how drones are going to make our lives so much easier or what they can do now to entertain us. Most recently, there were reports of the flying devices delivering food to golfers on a course in North Dakota and being used as backup dancers at Drake’s shows. But far away from the back nine and concert stages, autonomous flying vehicles are doing serious business, from helping to save lives during hurricanes to lending aging farmers a hand. And, if a Rice University research project comes to fruition, a swarm of drones could one day work together to sense toxic gases in the atmosphere and map out a safe perimeter. Boosted by a recent $1.5 million National Science Foundation grant, the scientists, in collaboration with the Baylor College of Medicine and Technology For All, a Houston nonprofit, will focus on giving drones the intelligence to sniff out where dangerous pollution has spread following explosions or leaks, particularly after extreme weather events."