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Mek-Assist Network
Dario Fuentes

What if we had super-humanitarians that could throw the weight and attention of thousands at a problem without rest or respite? What if we had an army of inexhaustible helpers? What about crowd sourcing saviors through the use of drones?

This concept is born out of the desire to deliver an army of volunteers where needed the most. Many of us have a deep interest in their fellow humans but perhaps cannot relocate to troubled or needed areas in order to support our interests. Imagine a retired fire fighter physically unable to assist in control or support of fire suppression but able to pilot a robot from a PC. A forest fire raging in Colorado and retired ranger remotely accesses a helper drone capable of providing supplies to active, on-site fire fighters, CO2 to fire walls or small airborne blimp drones carrying water to be dropped on a specific locations. Perhaps carry a wounded fire fighters from dangerous areas. Air borne spotters could maintain eyes on paths of a fire and create a panoramic views of the area fed back to control centers to help decide on the best tactic based on the fire's up to the minute changing activity.

Human rights organizations feeding needy people could establish watcher drones to determine whether supplies were being distributed properly. Fleets of farmer robots controlled by volunteers could move from village to village to assist in planting and seeding crops, irrigating, or even herding from half a world away. Flooded cities could have drone spotters to locate trapped individuals on rooftops and watch for mudslides. Coast Guard could employ volunteers over search grids to find shipwrecked sailors.

The basis of the idea is to develop a logistical deployment network matching volunteers to tasks, world wide. We'd need a hardware system, a set of software API's and a complex command and control system that enabled multiple layers of control, checks and balances required for administering a localized "MekAssist" engagement. Such a system would need to provide:
- localized overrides to mass or individual drone behavior such as a "recall" or "exodus" or "power down"
- activity governers which limit what an operator can actually do with a particular drone
- co-operative piloting giving individual drones multiple pilot oversight
- activity monitors and "cluster" managers giving certain individuals veto power over misbehaving devices or pilots
- goal oriented software devised to maintain constant feedback on the efficacy of the drone effort
- combo operations in which authorized users can request and carry out choreographed cooperative behaviors for temporary control over a drone cluster.
- enhanced tele-presence capabilities to enable higher levels of control

And of course, a website and overall administrative and marketing infrastructure to attract, profile, and manage the volunteers that could be made available to troubled spots. This breaks down to a drone piloting "match making" system that finds drone pilots whose motivations, needs, and possibly even political views or psychological profiles qualify them for a particular engagement.


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