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US drone-maker aims to protect people here and in Ukraine

Dominic Gates, The Seattle Times on

Published in Science & Technology News

Blake Resnick was a 17-year-old growing up in Las Vegas when a gunman firing from a Strip hotel window killed 60 people at an outdoor concert.

In that October 2017 tragedy, Resnick, an engineering prodigy, recognized an opportunity. He imagined advanced drones buzzing to dangerous locations, giving first responders a way to assess the situation quickly and safely, and allowing them to communicate directly with someone inside.

Five years later, Resnick is in Seattle, and quadcopters built by his startup, Brinc Drones, are flying in some of the world's most dangerous spots.

"The deadliest mass shooting in American history happened in my hometown," Resnick said, "and I saw a place where technology could have saved lives."

Brinc's flagship drone, the Lemur, is currently helping conduct search-and-rescue missions in collapsed apartment blocks hit by missiles in Ukraine.

Fire departments are using them to inspect burning buildings before sending in firefighters.

 

U.S. police departments are buying them to conduct hostage negotiations and high-risk searches.

After an initial injection of $27.2 million in venture capital, Brinc grew within the past year from a one-man company — Resnick — to employing about 100 people between its manufacturing site in Las Vegas and its new headquarters in Seattle.

On the Brinc website, a "Values & Ethics" page outlines the Brinc mission "to bring these technologies into the world responsibly, and to ensure they do good."

The commitments include: "Never build technologies designed to hurt or kill."

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