DJI, market leader in drones and aerial systems, released a new report, “Lives Saved: A Survey of Drones in Action,” on lifesaving drone operations using data collected from around the world. DJI reports that drones have helped rescue at least 59 people from life-threatening conditions in 18 separate incidents. The notable take away from this report was that most of these lifesaving drones were operated by civilian bystanders and volunteers offering to help professional rescue personnel. This indicates a benefit to public safety even with just the widespread adoption of personal drone use; with greater use by professional rescue personnel teams the numbers and benefit will likely increase.
The cases reported in this report were “only those in which media accounts clearly demonstrated that people in imminent peril were directly located, assisted and/or rescued with drones” as opposed to those cases where drones “indirectly helped save lives by taking part in successful searches for missing people.” These rescue operations occurred on land and in water (in flooded areas), and ranged from locating missing people to bring them water and supplies (via the drone) or to bring them life jackets or rescue ropes (again, via the drone).
DJI mentions in its report that it undercounts the number of lifesaving activities that have actually been undertaken with this technology, using the count of 38 lives saved by drone operations, between May 2016 and February 2017. Broken down—drones saved almost one life per week. DJI said that this undercount is due to the underreporting of the tools used in emergency operations and challenges in searching news reports across multiple languages.
The conclusion: drones are regularly helping to save lives around the globe. It is already happening thanks to civilians who have adopted the technology to their daily lives just as professional rescue crews are beginning to adopt this new drone technology themselves.