Donegal Mountain Rescue Team chosen as test site for emergency services by drone giant DJI
The world’s biggest drone company has chosen Donegal as one of two European locations to test drones for emergency services.
DJI, which makes the best-selling Phantom and Inspire ranges of drones, announced an official partnership with the European Emergency Number Association (Eena) that will try to integrate the use of drones into first-response missions.
Donegal Mountain Rescue Team is currently using the software while the Greater Copenhagen Fire Department was also selected.
“The team in Ireland is already using advanced software applications to help search and rescue missions and the focus will be to improve real-time networking techniques and crowd-sourcing capabilities,” said a statement from the two organisations.
A spokesman said that the drone-maker and Eena “expect to gain deeper understanding of how aerial technology best adds value to emergency-service providers in different scenarios, environments and conditions”.
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Eena deputy executive director Tony O'Brien said his organisation is excited to partner with DJI to bring its expertise and latest technology to the NGO's members.
"Eena has a unique position to observe how aerial technology has the potential to be implemented to support first-responder services,” he 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 realise the benefits of drones in emergency and humanitarian crisis situations.”
Brussels-based Eena was established in 1999 as a non-governmental organisation and serves as a discussion platform for emergency services, public authorities, researchers, associations and solution providers with the aim of improving emergency response situations.
The joint DJI-Eena program will provide “carefully selected” teams of pilots in Europe with the latest aerial-technology equipment, including DJI's ready-to-fly Phantom and Inspire drones, its M100 platform and Zenmuse XT thermal-imaging system.
Throughout the program, selected teams will receive hands-on training, support and guidance on application-development using DJI's software development kit. A spokesman said that at the program's end, Eena and DJI will share insights and “best practices” with the broader international emergency-response community to promote the integration of drones in emergency situations.
"With this partnership, we hope to demonstrate the power of aerial systems in first response missions," said Romeo Durscher, DJI's director of education. "Drones are transforming the way first response and civil protection missions operate by not only helping commanders make faster, smarter and better informed decisions, but also by providing first responders with more detailed information from an aerial perspective. The technology is easy to deploy and can be used in dangerous situations without risking pilots' lives. This ultimately saves lives and property."