DJI Partners with European First Responders

The world’s largest drone manufacturer is teaming up with Europe’s largest emergency services association to find new and better ways to deploy UAVs into emergency scenarios.

China-based DJI and the European Emergency Number Associationannounced the partnership on Thursday and the initiative calls for the selection of European drone pilot teams to train with Phantom and Inspire drones to optimize emergency response. In addition, EENA pilots will also learn how to deploy DJI’s Matrice 100 quadcopter, which is specifically designed to work with developers testing new hardware and software solutions for drones.

“With this partnership, we hope to demonstrate the power of aerial systems in first response missions,” said Romeo Durscher, DJI’s director of education.

The Donegal Mountain Rescue Team in Ireland and the Greater Copenhagen Fire Department in Denmark will serve as the initial test sites for the training program. Officials in Copenhagen will focus on traffic crashes, firefighting reconnaissance and chemical spill disasters while the Irish team will work to improve networking and crowd-sourcing techniques in its program that already harnesses DJI software platforms.

The journey into the high-stakes world of emergency response is not new to DJI, although the EENA partnership is one of the first official partnerships. Several American public-safety agencies have already purchased or deployed the company’s UAV systems.

In March, the Horry County (S.C.) Fire-Rescue Department applied for FAA approval to pilot its new DJI Phantom 3 in an effort to capture video footage of larger fires as well as aid in search-and-rescue and disaster evaluation efforts.

In Miami, Okla., the city’s first-response team recently announced the launch of a UAV pilot program that will use their new DJI Inspire to pursue high-speed suspects, assess crime, fire and disaster scenes as well as search and rescue.

By joining together in a unified partnership, European emergency services will be able to crowd-source their experiences and learn from each other. “EENA has a unique position to observe how aerial technology has been – and has the potential to be – implemented to support first-responder services,” EENA Deputy Executive Director Tony O’Brien said.

“With this program, we seek to better understand how challenges in terms of logistics and data-analysis and integration can be overcome to fully realize the benefits of drones in emergency and humanitarian crisis situations,” O’Brien added.

Based in Brussels, the EENA is “dedicated to promoting high-quality emergency services reached by the number 112 throughout the EU [the counterpart to the American 911].”  The NGO provides a forum for agencies to discuss improvements in emergency response techniques.