Silicon Valley-based drone manufacturer Skydio announced they will donate dozens of drones for emergency services agencies during the Covid-19 crisis, through the Skydio Emergency Response Program. Skydio has been planning an Emergency Response Program to contribute to emergencies like fires, floods, and earthquakes: but in light of the current crisis, Skydio moved the program forward.
Additionally, Skydio is participating in Silicon Valley’s Frontline Support effort, a nonprofit formed to utilize the talent and resources of the valley’s tech hub to source and distribute personal protective equipment (PPE) for emergency workers. Skydio has facilitated the delivery of more than 1 million pieces of PPE, including medical grade masks, gloves, gowns, and face shields sourced from around the world. The PPE has been sent to University of Washington Hospital System.
“Skydio’s efforts are led by Phuong Huynh, Head of Logistics and Business Systems, and the company’s contribution to the Frontline Support effort includes logistics planning and implementation, import, storage, shipping and distribution at Skydio’s expense and on Skydio’s accounts at distribution centers, allowing for expedited distribution and delivery of these critically needed materials,” says a Skydio press release.
The pandemic is what Skydio co-founder and CEO Adam Bry calls an “all hands on deck” moment. Tom Moss, Skydio’s COO, tells DRONELIFE that the team has been actively looking for ways to help. “Though we are announcing these initiatives today, obviously we have been working on them for a while. As soon as we realized the unprecedented situation our nation was in, we started looking for ways we could help. We engaged with several police and fire departments to find out what we could do that would have the most impact, and came up with these two initiatives that support front line responders with equipment that would keep them safe, both through PPE and through situational awareness drones. We are happy to be able to contribute in any way we can.”
Skydio’s press release also responds to the criticism levied at drones donated by manufacturer DJI, clarifying that the Skydio drones can’t be used to monitor social distancing – an application that some politicians object to. “Skydio and its public safety partners are firmly committed to protecting privacy and civil liberties. The Skydio 2 drones donated through the ERP do not carry speakers and cannot be used to issue instructions from the sky and are not intended to be used for any type of quarantine enforcement,” says the release. “Instead, Skydio drones provide immediate tactical support for fire and police professionals, enabling them to safely gain close-up situational awareness using Skydio’s unique advanced collision avoidance technology and thereby reducing risk to first responders and rapidly gaining useful information that could save lives.”
Agencies interested in the program should contact [email protected] to receive additional information and a link to the ERP application.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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