DJI has released the first-ever survey of lifesaving drone activity, finding that drones have rescued at least 59 people from life-threatening conditions in 18 separate incidents around the globe.
More than one-third of the people rescued were saved by drones operated by civilian bystanders and volunteers offering their services to help professional rescue personnel, indicating that the widespread adoption of personal drones offers a concrete benefit to public safety.
As drones have become more widely used by public safety agencies as well as individuals, the rate of lifesaving drone work now averages almost one per week.
DJI’s report is based on a survey of media reports collected from around the world, and almost surely undercounts the number of lifesaving activities undertaken with drones.
It includes rescues made on land, on water and in flooded areas, as drones found missing people, brought them water and supplies, and in several cases brought them life jackets or rescue ropes.
The full report, with links to media coverage of each incident, is available at this link.
“The clear conclusion is that drones are regularly saving lives around the world,” concludes the report from DJI’s Policy & Legal Affairs Department.
“This is occurring even though professional rescue crews are just beginning to adopt UAS technology, and in many cases are relying on bystanders or volunteers to provide lifesaving assistance.”
“DJI is at the forefront in efforts to develop best practices and optimal standards for firefighters, rescue services and other first responders to integrate drones into their command protocols.”
“As these efforts continue, we expect the number of lives saved by drones to continue to grow.”
In February, DJI and The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), launched a joint program to promote safe and responsible drone operations, train public safety officers to use drones effectively, and support educational outreach efforts.
(Learn More about UAS 4 Public Safety, courtesy of AMA and YouTube)
The two organizations will work together to promote the AMA Public Safety course, a hands-on training experience that teaches public safety employees how to safely use drone technology in their daily jobs.
Furthermore, DJI confirmed in September, that early search and rescue tests have found that a properly-equipped drone can find a missing person in a one-square-kilometer area within 20 minutes, more than 80 percent faster than traditional methods, but new software developments will be key to putting that lifesaving potential into action.
In conjunction with the European Emergency Number Association (EENA), DJI’s research with Ireland’s Donegal Mountain Search and Rescue found that while a five-person rescue team needs two hours on average to find a victim in one square kilometer, a drone can not only find that victim in 20 minutes, but can take additional active steps to achieve a successful rescue.
“As we study the search and rescue process, we realize that finding a victim in rough terrain is just the first part of the process,” Durscher said.
“A drone also must be able to transmit images and GPS coordinates to other searchers and commanders as part of a coordinated software solution, deliver small rescue payloads to a victim, and serve as a beacon to guide rescuers to the right spot.”
“Drones are already being used to save lives around the world, but we believe working with experienced emergency responders is the right way to develop a strategic approach that will maximize their capabilities.”
DJI is developing controlled test methodologies to continue collecting rigorous data on how drones can save lives in firefighting, search and rescue and other forms of emergency response, as well as better protect search and rescue personnel.
DJI is a global leader in developing and manufacturing innovative drone and camera technology for personal and professional use.