DJI, the world's largest commercial drone manufacturer, announced today that it is training first responders in Europe to use drones in rescue operations. The project, which will be rolled out in partnership with the European Emergency Number Association (EENA), a Brussels-based NGO, could improve efficiency and save lives.
"Drones are transforming the way first response and civil protection missions operate by not only helping commanders make faster, smarter and better informed decisions, but also by providing first responders with more detailed information from an aerial perspective," said Romeo Durscher, DJI's director of education.
The joint DJI-EENA initiative will give carefully selected teams of European pilots access to Phantom, Inspire, and Matric 100 (M100) drones, as well as access to DJI's Zenmuse XT thermal-imaging system. The first two pilot test sites, which will be set up between May and September this year, will be in Denmark and Ireland.
Test sites: Denmark and Ireland
In Denmark, the Greater Copenhagen Fire Department will be trained in drone applications for firefighting, chemical accidents, and larger car accidents in urban and over-water environments. In Ireland, the Donegal Mountain Rescue Team is already using DJI's software development kit to coordinate search and rescue missions in remote areas. Now, they will work on improving real-time networking techniques and crowd-sourcing capabilities.
Promote drone use in emergency situations
In 1999, EENA established the emergency hotline 112 in the EU. Today, the organization includes more than 1,200 emergency service representatives from over 80 countries worldwide, so it is "well placed to help develop a framework for drone operators in Europe," Engadget reported.
At the end of the pilot program, DJI and EENA will "share insights and best practices with the broader international emergency-response community to promote the safe integration of drones in emergency situations," the companies said in a press release.
The Federal Aviation Administration predicts there will be more than 30,000 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in the US by the year 2020, doing work for private companies and law enforcement. All over the world, drones are increasingly being used for emergency rescue operations, even helping avert potential shark attacks on swimmers and rescuing stranded rafters.