Drone technology is on the rise in an ever-increasing number of industries, including agriculture, photography, geological surveying, and utility inspection, but it’s the emergency response sector that is gaining momentum as drone manufacturers look at how the technology may save the lives of not only those in life-threatening situations, but of the first responders themselves.
CEO of Detroit Aircraft Corporation Jon Rimanelli told the Detroit Free Press in April, “Right now, what we’re focused on is first-response applications. Firefighters, special response teams, search and rescue, Coast Guard and border patrol ops.”
Rimanelli sees crucial partnerships forming between government and industry as the public begins to recognize the need for drone technology. This public recognition should put pressure on the Federal Aviation Administration to push forward with proper regulation that allows for responsible drone use in a variety of industries.
Drone manufacturers are not hesitating in their plans to begin design and production of emergency-focused drones, however.
W.S. Darley and Company is one of the first emergency services equipment manufacturers to offer drone technology, specifically targeted at first responders with their Stinger line.
The Stinger is customizable, and can be outfitted with key features included with first responders and emergency personnel in mind. Depending on the need, the drones can be outfitted with LED lights to locate the drone in case it gets lost in low visibility conditions. Additionally, manufacturers can outfit the Stingers with a variety of cameras and operation methods.
“This kind of technology has changed a lot in the last couple of years; it’s become a lot more affordable and dependable,” said Peter Darley, Co-COO of W.S. Darley and Company, to the emergency response news site FireRescue1.
Affordable and dependable is what its all about for Game of Drones and they are not afraid to get their hands dirty. The California-based company ran a very successful Kickstarter campaign this winter and has since released the Action Sports Airframe which they tout as “the worlds toughest drone airframe” (above).
The airframe can be outfitted to many mainstream models that are already in use by first response units such as a DJI or 3D Robotics drone. A quick glance at some of the videos on their website and its pretty clear the airframe can withstand just about anything including, but not limited to, bludgeoning, gunshots and of course, fire.
It remains to be seen, however, when or whether the legality of drones in the eyes of the FAA will allow for first-response use. Until the regulatory framework is sorted out, the drone industry continues to innovate toward where the needs are greatest, and first responders continue to plan for this crucial technology that has shown the potential to save lives.
All photos courtesy of Liana Bandziulyte and Game of Drones