The world’s largest drone manufacturer, DJI, has been a pioneer in the “drones for good” community: taking a leading role in working with public safety agencies to expand drone use cases. With a large manufacturing base in China, DJI as a company has felt the effects of Covid-19 from the beginning of the crisis: and from the beginning, they’ve stepped up to respond. DJI has worked with international agencies to convert crop spraying drones to sanitize public spaces; they’ve committed funds to assist with the crisis; and here in the U.S., they are providing more drones to public safety agencies.
As of April 1, writes Romeo Durscher on the DJI Enterprise Blog, one week after announcing the program, DJI had already committed 100 drones to public safety organizations across the U.S.
“Today, we’re pleased to announce we are distributing 100 drones to 43 police, fire and public safety organizations in 22 states. This is the largest single deployment of drones to fight COVID-19 that we know of – and we look forward to seeing what our brave first responders do with them,” writes Durscher.
DJI’s Disaster Relief Program was formed last year to allow the company to distribute drones quickly during times of natural disaster, such as fires and hurricanes. Drones already hold an established place in disaster response – although many communities still do not have the equipment or the training to use them. After declaring that DJI would activate the program in response to the current pandemic, the DJI team received several hundred requests.
“Even in a time of crisis, it was frankly inspiring: All across America, first responders are embracing drone technology to help their communities, accomplish more in less time, and protect their own personnel. They came up with creative ideas, shared proofs of concept and were eager to demonstrate how their work can help the greater public safety community,” writes Durscher.
The agencies receiving drones will use them according to their needs – some plan to use them to disperse crowds and make public service announcements. As the drone industry tackles this latest emergency, new uses for drones will certainly emerge.
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 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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