When drone first started to become stable and reliable, industries across the spectrum brainstormed as to how to incorporate this new technology and reap its benefits. From the shipping industry, to the filmmaking industry, to the agricultural industry, drones are slowly becoming major workhorses in a number of industries. It’s exciting to finally see the exponentially increasing use of drone in the public safety sector. The faster drones are put into use; the more lives are potentially saved.With every positive use case reported on by news outlets, public safety departments get more leverage to acquire these technologies.
What accounts for this increase in drone use for public safety is the ability of drones to fly with an array of different types of cameras including infrared, multispectral, and telephoto capable. Platforms like the DJI Inspire or Matrice 100 allow pilots to swap out cameras in seconds. With custom made apps used to control the drones autonomously, user oversight is mitigated. With autonomous flight paths, one of these aircrafts can fly in a grid to cover every inch of land so no hiker is lost to the wilderness.
One such example of drones being put to the test is in Western Canada where seven skiers and snowboarders were rescued after getting stranded. Hummingbird, a drone company specializing in SAR (search and rescue) drones, teamed up with Kamloops Search and Rescue to deploy a DJI Matrice 100 fitted with a thermal camera. After only a few hours the glowing hikers were spotted on the thermal camera. “The Matrices are our favorite and the most effective for what we do because they provide a platform for us to develop on and build out functionality beyond the primary basic use case,” said Robert Atwood, CEO of Hummingbird.
(screenshot of Kamloops SAR’s XT video)
Because of the public’s skeptical position about drone use, public institutions are hesitant to incorporate drones into their arsenal of safety tools. To speed up deliberation, companies like Drone Pilot Inc. have developed programs to provide the tools and training necessary to ease safety, budget, and logistical concerns. They focus on crime scenes and SAR training and use a wide number of multirotors of all shapes and sizes the large and powerful DJI S1000 to the portable and quick-to-deploy DJI Mavic.
As more use cases develop and more success stories are published, public safety institutions will incorporate drones more rapidly and more lives will be saved. Public opinion in favor of drone use by public or federal institutions has been slow to come, but the general perception of drone use may soon be overwhelmingly positive.