Think about your organization acquiring a new piece of equipment–whether that’s a brand new apparatus such as the latest handheld thermal imager, 2-way radio, body cam, or portable fingerprint scanner. Would you allow your personnel to operate these without first training them properly, being able to track their proficiency over time, establishing proper policies and procedures, knowing the whereabout of these items, understanding in detail when and how they were used, and auditing usage as needed? Of course not. That could cause all sorts of problems right out of the gate, and wreak outright havoc–or worse, lead to injuries and lawsuits from their improper use. You would make all efforts to ensure the right policies, systems, and training were in place for proper accountability prior to deploying these tools widely in the field. You would make sure all your bases are covered from the outset, and that makes perfect sense.
All this may seem quite obvious, especially if you are a company or chief officer, supervisor, commander, program manager or any other leader who may be held responsible for the actions of your team.
The unfortunate reality is that as UAS are increasingly adopted into public safety organizations nationwide, we are seeing the responsible approach that is normally taken to deploy other equipment simply being ignored when it comes to UAS. As powerful a tool as UAS can be to your organization, without the right platform in place ahead of time–to act as your “insurance policy”–these valuable programs could instead end up being very costly, and ultimately even shut down.
Today’s UAS are relatively inexpensive to acquire and easy to use, and so may not be thought of as the potential life-saving tool they actually are. These powerful data and image gathering vehicles are too often considered tangential to the mission, or even worse, just kids’ toys, that therefore do not require the same attention and vigilance as the organization’s other tools. This thought process is incomplete and misleading, and quite possibly very dangerous too. The FAA recognizes these aerial platforms as “aircraft” and requires pilots flying in public safety operations to be a certified remote pilot (as a non-hobbyist). Like other manned aviation assets or emergency response vehicles, certain considerations must be taken into account such as training, tracking, liability coverage, and instituting proper policies. There are very few people experienced and knowledgeable in both drone operations and public safety. Yet we desperately need the ability to anticipate and prevent the potential pitfalls faced by these programs. This transformative technology is setting a precedent for the future of public safety operations, as usage in more real-life missions reveal the true benefits from the aerial data and unique situational awareness they provide. As such, your public safety organization needs to approach UAS with the same care and diligence as you do with any of your other critical equipment. This includes making sure your UAS program can start and scale with full transparency and accountability from day one. The Wild West era of unstructured, ad hoc drone operations is quickly passing and, in turn, is ushering in a new age supported at the highest levels of government.
DroneSense: Your UAS “Insurance Policy”
The DroneSense platform is designed specifically for public safety and emergency response organizations, with many of your vital considerations in mind. We partner directly with public safety organizations to understand requirements, hurdles and challenges around the multiple dimensions of a UAS program. We then use this regular feedback to design and constantly improve our platform so it acts as your “insurance policy.” This allows you to build and manage a robust UAS program with full accountability, transparency, and compliance–just as you would seek out for any other new equipment in your organization.
Our feature-rich platform consists of 3 components: i) Management, ii) Flight Control, and iii) Command Center, with data flowing seamlessly between each area. Easily tap into all aspects of your program with features that include:
- Pilot currency, equipment proficiency and real-time flight hours all tracked automatically
- Flight replay engine to accurately review historical flights and media collected in great detail
- Automatic hardware tracking including drone flight hours, lifetime battery percentages, maintenance schedules, and much more
- Customizable and enforceable pre-flight and post-flight checklists
- Data stored locally or on secured servers, per client requirement (no “off-shoring”)
- Media retention policies, set per organizational requirements
- Custom reports for personnel, flights, budgets, and more–to satisfy internal and external stakeholders
- Ability to quickly respond to public information requests and audits for maximum accountability
- Maps with restricted airspaces and no-fly zones
- Easy and repeatable electronic filing of NOTAMs
- Incident reporting with associated pilots and hardware
- On-scene collaboration, ensuring all drone pilots and incident commanders are in the loop via a common operating picture
The Big Picture
Utilization of UAS by public safety organizations makes sense from many angles and hence, adoption is spreading quickly nationwide. However, not having a single platform that fully addresses the importance aspects of a UAS program from the start is akin to playing with fire; just as not using readily-available, inexpensive, off-the-shelf UAS in operations to help save more lives could also be considered a huge missed opportunity. Adopting UAS for regular use by your organization must be done with full accountability and compliance in mind–you need that “insurance policy” to properly integrate this game-changing technology into your operations.
DroneSense is here to help.