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What’s Next for Drones in Public Safety and First Responders

Posted by Patricia Pepper on

Up until recently the market for drone use by public safety and first responders was dominated by a few manufacturers like AeroVironment, Aeryon Labs, Boeing/Insitu, Draganfly, Lockheed Martin, and Microdrones – most of whom have repurposed their military drones for civilian use. But these are expensive solutions. Still, for many agencies, purchasing from these vendors make sense, especially if they want a solution that comes with training and support. For those that don’t have big budgets, there are other solutions. As mentioned above, smaller law enforcement agencies and volunteer fire departments with limited finances stand to benefit greatly because the price entry point has decreased for consumer drones and their capabilities have increased. For example, DJI, the world’s largest drone manufacturer, makes a removable thermal camera that can be paired with a DJI Matrice 100 drone and provide an estimated flight time of 30 minutes. DJI also announced 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. That said, we expect more lowcost / high-value solutions from companies like DJI as competition for these customers in the U.S. heats up.

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