Waterloo's Aeryon Labs lends drone for Philippines storm relief

A Waterloo company is putting its technology to use for humanitarian aid by lending an aerial drone to relief workers who are heading to storm-stricken areas of the Philippines.
A man carries a gas tank for cooking past a house destroyed by Typhoon Hagupit in central Philippines. A Waterloo, Ont., company is lending an aerial drone to aid workers to help with the relief efforts after the typhoon. (Erik De Castro/Reuters)

A Waterloo company is putting its technology to use for humanitarian aid by lending an aerial drone to relief workers who are heading to storm-stricken areas of the Philippines. 

Aeryon Labs is loaning a drone to the Ontario-based group Global Medic, whose members are heading to help in the Philippines after Typhoon Hagupit hit last week and left at least 27 people dead. 

"We've loaned it to them free of charge, we try and participate in as many sort of local charities and whatnot and community efforts as we can and this is sort of part of our ability to contribute on a worldwide basis," said Aeryon Labs CEO Dave Kroetsch

Kroetsch said using drone technology for relief efforts is still relatively new, but that his company's drone will give relief workers a bird's eye view to see where aid is needed most. 

"By collecting a series of images and building that map from there, they'd be able to tell how water patterns have moved, how [and] where they have a build up of debris or perhaps where someone is trapped," he said. 

Coastal villages are among the hardest hit by the typhoon's powerful winds and 10- to 13-foot storm surges.