Paladin drone view of house fire (Trevor Pennypacker/YouTube)

Auto-dispatched drones send video to responders en route

To help speed assistance to emergencies, a startup has developed a drone platform that allows dispatchers to automatically send a drone to emergency locations to give rescue teams real-time situational awareness even before they arrive.

Paladin Drones uses DJI unmanned aerial devices with video cameras and thermal imaging sensors to transmit GPS location data and live video of an emergency to give responders an bird's eye view of a situation so they can make informed tactical decisions. The platform handles security, safety, weather, video, route planning in the background so that public safety organizations don't need a dedicated drone pilot.

Once the drone arrives at the scene, it transmits exact GPS coordinates and sends a live 360-degree view video of the emergency to responders' phones or tablets.  The thermal imaging capabilities helps distinguish between fires, people and other objects in the scene when they are obscured by smoke or trees or darkness.

Besides getting information to responders sooner, the system quickly eliminates the confusion caused by panicked 911 callers who frequently misreport the scope or location of an emergency by showing video of the actual environment.

To address privacy concerns, the drone's cameras record the sky as they travel to an emergency and only record once they have arrived at the scene, according to TechCrunch.

The Memorial Villages Police Department near Houston is currently testing the platform, and Delaware's  Orange Township signed an agreement for a 90-day trial. The company recently landed $1.3 million in seed funding.

About the Author

Susan Miller is executive editor at GCN.

Over a career spent in tech media, Miller has worked in editorial, print production and online, starting on the copy desk at IDG’s ComputerWorld, moving to print production for Federal Computer Week and later helping launch websites and email newsletter delivery for FCW. After a turn at Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology, where she worked to promote technology-based economic development, she rejoined what was to become 1105 Media in 2004, eventually managing content and production for all the company's government-focused websites. Miller shifted back to editorial in 2012, when she began working with GCN.

Miller has a BA and MA from West Chester University and did Ph.D. work in English at the University of Delaware.

Connect with Susan at smiller@gcn.com or @sjaymiller.

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