Now i’ve worked with charles for a while. Our our guest is charles werner he’s, with drone responders, but he’s. Also so much more he’s done a lot for this industry on the public safety side and we’re, going to ask a lot of questions uh related to public safety. But let me tell you a little bit more about charles he’s, not only the director of drone responders they’re, a not for profit organization that helps unite the first responders, that use drones and they also help them maximize their operation, so that’s their their main motto. Charles is the chief emeritus of the charlottesville virginia fire department. He’S been doing this for for a long time. He served as a senior advisor and acting deputy state coordinator for the virginia department of emergency management, as you can tell. Charles has an amazing background to come and talk about drones. So, charles, how did you get into drone? How did you get the idea of starting uh the the drone responders program well throughout my career technology has been a big part of my career. I was always looking at how could technology enhance what we do either make it safer for the public safety or to make us more effective in what we do and then, just as i was about to retire as the fire chief in charlottesville 2014 2015. I started looking in and seeing the drones reading some of the new stories that were coming out and thought this really might be the next big thing for public safety because of what it offers just what we knew in the early stages and i think in 2015.
I wrote my first article for files magazine because i’m also a contributing editor for them, and it was on uh kind of a vision forward and i had identified seven use cases that, where i thought drones would make a big difference in the fire service, specifically um. You know advance forward to today. We we did a study for drone responders and now we’ve identified over 17 use cases which they themselves can be subdivided into three or four subcategories, so you’re, seeing about 40 different ways. Public safety are using drones and so that’s. How? I got into it that’s, awesome and, and you talked to a ton of public safety departments, and what is the challenge that you see when they they try to get a public safety program started with drones. What is what are some of the challenges that you see on a regular basis and and uh? How do you approach those and how do you help these, these public safety programs get started? So let me let me go back to the start and show a kind of a variance or a difference of what’s happened in this time frame for the people coming in from public safety in the in the time of 2016. 2017 2016 are when the rules changed. That’S when we got koas – and we got part 107. before that it was really difficult because you had to have flight ground school, you had to have a class 1 medical, so that was kind of a a roadblock, but even the ones.
Once we got past that – and we got part 107 and koas, we still ran into the issue of people, not knowing what this meant. What is a drone? How does it offer us advantages? What missions can we fly? Nobody knew, and so everybody that started programs early on were doing everything from scratch and some some were good. Some were not so good, but again there was nothing. You couldn’t pull the book off the shelf and tell you. This is how you do it, which really kind of led to the discussion of okay. What can we do to change this methodology, because i also sit on the international fire chiefs technology council, which i helped to start when i was a fire chief and what we learned in that technology world was the more that we can capture and share the faster. We can advance the technology because now people have that information to grab. So one of the things that we did as drum responders is said: let’s create a resource center and the resource center now has over 600 documents, which are sops best practices. Lessons learned reports just about anything you’re looking for co guidance starting a program, we’ve got folders on that that walk you from the very beginning that, first of all for guidelines and considerations. What are you getting into to understand because people don’t realize that flying uh actually buying and flying are the two easiest things that we’re going to do, but now the decisions of what you’re going to buy become more difficult and then, when you also look at the Other things that go with it, the the spare props, the batteries, the chargers and all this that goes with it, that’s kind of gives you a glimpse that your expenses are not just one and done.
They continue throughout the process over the next year and on coming years and that’s, something that’s kind of i’ve had discussions with some of the public safety departments out there and that’s, something that they have sometimes a hard time convincing. The higher ups in getting the budget fitted – and you know getting the drone program started – is one thing, but getting it continuing is also sometimes a bit of a struggle. Have you noticed that as well in some some locations? Yes, we’ve seen that uh well? First of all we had before the hurricanes. You know drone had a connotation that was, it was military, it was reconnaissance, it was, you know, used to to do emissions of dropping bombs, so we had that that word. Drone became a negative thing that we had to overcome. The hurricanes probably made the biggest difference in changing perception and acceptance by the public because of the tens of thousands of flights that were flown in conjunction with manned aircraft to help in those situations. But yes, so even still for the chiefs that if we got beyond the negativity there still is this resistance about going forward drones because they just don’t know and what i’ve seen and heard from a number of people that have been effective in convincing uh. Their leadership is they basically take them outside. Do a demonstration, no more talk, talking doesn’t get you anywhere. Do the demonstration show the value and it’s at that moment that they actually have that aha moment of the question comes in of how long is it going to take us to get that program up and running so there’s? This immediate change from resistance to now? How fast can we do it yeah i’ve? This is something that needs to be noted for those of you that are listening that are in the public safety world that’s.
I think that’s a great advice right here. The the other thing that goes with that uh greg is that also utilizing other departments that are near and around you that have had success in the in their programs. That also gives some comfort levels to the leadership, because they see it’s being done by someone else. You know there’s this saying that you could be on the leading edge or the bleeding edge and for those people going ahead and cutting their way through all this they’ve done that that bleeding so most of us want to be on the leading edge. Now, where we can feel comfortable going forward, especially when you’re leadership for a community, and you want to make sure that that goes forward so um. What are some of the most common hazards, firefighters and other first responders, would otherwise not be aware of if it weren’t for drones being on the scene. So anytime, a firefighter responds to a fire, a hazardous material response, a structural issue like we’re, seeing in miami some other places, you’re not seeing things hazards that exist uh on the ground, because you only you’re only having that that horizontal view when you put that drone In the sky, you’re able to see a lot of different things in a fire situation. If you’re, using a thermal image, camera you’re able to take a heat signature and see where the fire might be located that you can’t see, you can see structural integrity issues which would keep firefighters for being on the roof of doing ventilation, which is one of the Most dangerous places they’ll be, you might be able to see hazardous containers that are in areas that may have not been seen.
As you initially arrive on the scene and um i mean the list goes on and then, if you toss that over on the law enforcement side, when you’re going into a very dangerous situation, it might be a drug entry uh. It might be some other kind of active, shooter or or hostage situation. You may not be able to go into certain places and be able to see, but with the drone you’re able to see before you arrive, you’re able to see as your entry teams make their way in and you’re able to see what happens as that that scene Unfolds and we’ve seen through many of the law enforcement situations that that drone above will capture someone coming out a window, making an escape, throwing a gun into the bushes, throwing drugs on the roof, making their way out the back actually changing their shirt. They’Ve kind of anticipated they might be, it may be rated, so they already have a shirt underneath, so they take a black shirt off and now they’ve gone to a pink shirt. Well, the drone’s capturing all this. So now the person walks out on the street on the next block and thinks i’m freaking clear, because they’re looking for somebody in a black shirt and sure enough, the the officers are informed that the guys changed his clothing to a pink shirt and they just walk Up and say have you seen a guy in a black shirt and he comes up and talking to him and before he knows he’s under arrest, so it’s it’s being able to see all those things we can’t see and going back to the fire for one more Minute we have for many years used our elevating streams to put water onto fires, we’re trying to extinguish from a high level, but more than not, we were missing the fire because we couldn’t see where the stream is going.
Now we can see with the heat signature the stream and actually apply it directly on where it’s going and then one of the most famous fires we’ve had recently is the notre dame cathedral. A drone was used there to actually determine the best place where they could bring another robot. The colossus in that had a heavy stream to place to stop the spread of fire from beyond that. So from a safety standpoint, they were able to determine the best way to attack it so and that could go on probably for another hour, but i think that gives you at least a glimpse. As to some of those issues you asked about, i think the uh the story about the notre dame is especially interesting because i think there, the drone was actually able to provide data that allowed the fire crews to make different decisions and actually preserve more of the Cathedral than otherwise likely would have happened, so i think that was like one of the first major stories where drone play. They played a crucial role, um talking about a a much more recent disaster in surfside florida almost a week ago. At the time of this recording, we had this 12 story, condo tower that that collapsed. I think it’s about 55 apartments, more than 150 people are reported missing, i understand, and only 10 or give or take, have have been found and identified at this point. Uh. Do you know if drones have been used in in that situation as well, and if so, can you tell us more about how they’re being used and the kind of uh applications that we’re looking at yeah? So what i’ve been told is that drones have been used from the very beginning of the incident when they arrived.
They got there very quickly to start doing reconnaissance and looking i’ve heard. There have been as many as four or five operations operating in tandem from different sides. They’Ve basically divided the scene up into different sectors and sides, so they may have one team working on side, one one on side, two one on side, three, one on site, four and they may be doing similar or different missions. Uh they’ve been doing uh capturing this and trying to do now, modeling of the scene. I know that florida state, university and krasar are in there doing mapping recordings every hour, so they’re capturing any kind of changes that what’s happening on the pile itself. And now i don’t know if you heard this morning, but they’ve halted all the research and rescue operations, because they’re, seeing uh cracks and and some instability in the adjacent building so now, and so the drones are also playing a role in looking at those kind of Things and capturing uh what’s happening in that particular space, but uh evidentiary uh from a reconnaissance standpoint and then when, when they do the forensics. If what i understand is, if they’re finding uh some of the remains that they’re they’re actually going capturing that as part of the forensics with the drone, so there’s a lot going on with drones, and it shows how how much value they had do. You know if, in the earlier days right after the disaster drones where thermal karma sub units use it all to look for survivors or hot spots and fires potentially or well, i think once we had drones that entered into the world that we’re in now thermal image Became one of the big ones for fire because of that very reason: uh.
They use it in the wildfire settings of flying above and seeing not only where the fire is, but where it’s headed, and they can also see hot spots that may be of left behind and when you’re getting the whole wi fi situation. Drones are being used for a multiplicity of uses, so one they’re doing reconnaissance, but before the reconnaissance they’re even doing flyovers and examining and analyzing the fuel load on the floor. So they’re determining where the risks are in advance, where they might be able to take some preventive action, then they’re used to follow the fire to do the hot spots to do thermal imaging. But then what they’re also doing is they’re using the ability to carry incendiary devices called dragon eggs which they can fly out to the perimeters of the fuel load and do what we call backfiring and they’ll drop these incendiary devices, which will start a fire that will Burn back toward the head of the fire and they’ll come together and it reduces the fuel. So, yes, drones are continuing to continue in these areas and and speaking of all this, you have a map on the drone responders website that shows all of the different areas where drones are doing things for good. Can you talk a little bit more about the project and what the what data comes out of the project and maybe how you use the data sure one of the things that i mentioned to you earlier is that we learn more when we know about other departments That have programs, we also have the opportunity, as you’ve seen in texas, they’ve got the gulf coast and the north texas public safety regional response teams that they’ve set up the idea was let’s, identify the teams on a map around the world first and foremost, so that We could actually know who’s out there, but secondly, to create a network of sharing and collaboration that we have certain information that people are putting in automatically.
So we go in. When did you start your program? How many aircraft do you have how many remote pilots do you have? What aircraft are you flying? What missions are you flying and what payload capabilities do you have? So what this does is at a quick glance. You can look to see um what people are doing and how mature their program is and what technologies and missions, but we we also have seen that um people want to know. Are you doing part 107? Are you doing a koa? Are you doing both that’s captured on there, and so you can see that we’re also working with the canadian emergency robotics response association, sarah and we’re going to do a different survey for canada because, as you know, some of their regulatory things are different than ours and Then we can add that to the map to where they will still be on the same map. But we can add a layer specific to canada and then, in addition, that we’re coming out with not only the map but a dashboard and the dashboard will allow you to filter by discipline by state and by some other characteristics. So now, if you want to say who’s in the state of texas, because i want to set up and identify them all, i have that information to be able to use maybe for mutual aid and so on. So it really is a network of a lot of things that can occur from it.
Organizations have been instrumental in providing first responders with the best uav training out there. Well, that’s one of the areas that we’re having a little bit of a struggle there isn’t a widespread adoptance of standards. I think astm has uh the f 3379 standard for public safety room of pilots, but it also pulls into some other things and then we’ve seen nist. This has been a big piece of this: the standard test methods for small and min aircraft system, where they create test lanes, which kind of create a proficiency model. That says, from an objective standpoint here are some assignments for you to do: fly these missions and do that. But overall there is no standardized training or national training, which is one of the reasons that we partnered with pilot institute to do the koa and part 107 training. Because there is no other place that you can go and get that information which has been received. Very well, and we hope to to work on this kind of level towards some higher level training that we’ll be discussing as well question i have for you is um. You work closely with the fea and i think what a lot of people understand as well is that the regulatory framework is always one or two steps behind reality. It seems from your perspective and from the perspective of first responders, like what are the biggest regulatory hurdles that the faa might be able to help us clear, hopefully sooner rather than later, that that would help us to to apply drones and use drones.
More often and more successfully yeah, so i will. I will acknowledge that the faa has a difficult job. The first, the first thing we have to overcome is ensuring the safety of the national airspace by the actions we take, making sure that our people are trained well and that they understand the regulatory space. Having said that, i will say that the faa has come a long way in a short period of time, and i will give you one example: we are trying we’re trying to achieve a tactical beyond visualized site waiver, which allows us to fly 1500 feet beyond the Visual line of sight during dangerous missions like a hazardous materials where we can’t put people close to that close to the scene or to a hazmat now husband, but a hostage situation, uh or an active shooter, where we literally don’t want the remote pilot to be in. In direct uh harm’s way, so they they have, they have found the ability for us to determine. How can we allow public safety to fly in what they would consider a higher risk situation, but in a way that it is an acceptable risk based on the circumstances that were in place – and i think, a year before, we would have never even imagined that this Was possible so i think uh, the beyond vigilanta site park is the next big thing we are on the arc and i’m on the security subdivision of determining how do you make sure that the aircraft is secure, uh and then there are others that are participating, but I think that beyond vigilanta site, uh rule making is going to be the next big thing to help us advance the technology forward to show if we want to do that, what’s necessary for to accomplish that.
Put us all on the same page i’m excited about this. Actually, we had a discussion this morning with haya on that exact topic: the local, beyond visual line of size versus the the the far beyond visual line of sight. I think it’s, two completely different operations, and i think it needs to be approached two completely different ways. So i’m glad you’re on the on the arc to talk about this because that’s, especially for firefighters, you know i live in in an area where we have forest fires. We have, i think, 22 active forest fires in arizona at the moment. Uh, maybe a little bit less because we had rain yesterday, thankfully, but you know i i would love to see our uh hotshots be able to deploy a small drone get on the field and then be able to send it and see what’s going on so um. I want to talk about remote id, because this is also kind of a big part of the regulation. That’S coming up the. What do you think remote id? What kind of effect do you think remote id is going to have on public safety operations and kind of a follow up question to this? How is this going to affect certain types of operation when the people on the ground may be able to find the location of the drone in the air where at the moment they may not be able to do that yeah? So, on the positive side, i think it’s going to give us an ability to identify, authorized and unauthorized flights during a situation.
For example, let’s let’s use the surf side situation being able to monitor the aircraft that are flying and see. Rogue drones that may be coming in from different directions would help maintain safety in the airspace and and prevent people from interfering with the operations on the side. Where they can identify, perhaps even where a law enforcement drone is or it’s it’s coming, we’re hoping that there are some ways that we can do some specific missions that are, i forget, what they classified now but may may create that anonymity, so they won’t be able To to see where law enforcement’s flying, i don’t think it’s so much for on the fire side, we don’t really have that much of a concern of people knowing that we’re flying, but when you, when you’re doing it, for law enforcement towards drugs and those kind of Things. The other thing that i see with remote id that’s that’s potentially positive, is that if we can get some something that’s capturing the remote id as it’s occurring and aggregate that data it’s going to be kind of interesting to see where flights are taking place that are Authorized unauthorized and maybe even see some historical data to where we can see are there flights to critical infrastructure that shouldn’t be uh and other things. So i think that remote id from a localized standpoint is going to be one thing, but i think there’s going to be opportunities to take that localized information and synthesize that into a database that actually looks at things on a bigger picture of what’s happening.
Yeah. I’M. Glad we’re talking about this because in in many cases either with bigger incidents like what we or accidents but we’ve, seen disasters, you might say. Well, we see the surf side, but also the wildfires is you do see a lot of people coming up with their own drones and fly unauthorized to get aerial images, maybe for their own sake, or maybe they want to sell it online somewhere um, as as the Pixel drone show we provide. We advocate, of course, for for safe drone flying. Can you perhaps help explain to our listeners here? Why it’s so important that you keep your drones away and you don’t fly near the scene of an accident or a wildfire and interfere with the rescue operations for people well, and i think that’s. The first part you just mentioned at the end is interfering with the operations when a drone flies into a wildfire, setting and there’s manned aircraft that are coming in and different areas, dropping retardants and or water. If a drone comes up in the area that’s identified, they often have to ground their activities. That means the firefighting operation actually stops and that that means that homes can be destroyed. Other people can be in danger and it may even endanger the wildfire firefighters that are out there so and then, when you go into a hazmat situation or the surf side situation again, your flights may interfere with what they’re doing for the search operation and they may Have to stop so that’s the big thing danger to people and the danger to the operation, so you’ve accomplished a lot since um starting drone responders.
You know you’ve kind of just tied everything together and all the resources, and what have you um? Can you share any new milestones or goals that you hope to accomplish in the future that you haven’t? Yet? Yes? Well, i think the big one on our list is training. I think we want to work on trying to develop a national strategy of how we train our public safety, remote pilots, uh that we we enable it in such a way that it creates regional training opportunities that there’s online training opportunities that’s. The big thing for us. I think is that if we train people the most effective way – and that goes everything from the language that we use to the operations – that we do – the proficiency definitions. All of that also helps us make us have a better standing in the manned aircraft world, because they feel more comfortable, that we understand the airspace we’re talking the same language and that our proficiencies are such place, that we know how to manage that during the flights. The other another milestone is for us to continue to expand and grow throughout the world, just so that we can create a network of sharing so that we can learn from the best practices of other people and collect that and share it as quickly as possible. Again um, i don’t think anybody imagined that we would see 30 40 different ways. Public safety would be using drones and now you’re, starting to see drones, become kind of a mainstay in public safety where it wasn’t before.
Well, you you mentioned the world and, i think, that’s an interesting concept right here. What do you see as a challenge – and i can think of several in my head of joining hands with other people in in other countries? Obviously, from a regulatory standpoint, do you think we can learn from other people? We can share our knowledge, uh and and what’s the what’s. The goal there well that the whole idea is to learn what other people are doing, because some people are trying things and experimenting in areas that were not. I mean i think in europe was the first place. They did one of the studies on search and rescue about what was the efficacy of using drones in those search and rescue situations, and what we learned from that was there wasn’t a significant difference in using drones to find a lost person, as opposed to not using A drone because there was no standard approach in how to be able to utilize that technology so and if you introduce that technology into a search situation where people never used it before it often becomes a distraction. So what they did learn was that the drone does have some specific advantages to helping the process like uh flying ahead and looking to see what does the landscape look like what areas and they can do quick searches? So if you have a child in a certain area, that’s got a bright colored clothing on and you put a drone straight up.
You might find that person in 30 seconds, but it gives the terrain and then the ability for the drone to fly in search areas that may not be accessible by people on foot or dangerous areas. So they there is some things that can be done and that’s. What we’re learning and that was in europe, so we learned from that that we’ve got to change the model and i think there’s the same thing. True we’re seeing uh london fire brigade talking with fdny uh and a lot of this sharing that’s going on, and then we try to bring that to the to the auvsi shows to the commercial uav expos and bring panels in of people to be able to share What’S happening in their world so that those conversations can go even further. Have you been impressed with any countries at the moment that you’ve seen doing something above and beyond or or maybe even ahead of the united states? Well, i think um, the london fire brigade has really taken a really big jump in doing it. They did one of the most recent impressive demonstrations. Was they flew over an area to clear an area where they’d found a, i think, a world war ii bomb and then they were able to? They were able to not only make sure everybody was out. Then they monitored it as they as they blew up the bomb. They detonated it and they could see what took place in the whole area around it and it kind of gave a big snapshot of when this detonates.
What it looks like, i think, i’ve seen some stuff over uh in croatia, where demir has been working on some things over there there is. France is doing a lot of things. I got to give a shout out to vind clique over there he’s with the international emergency drone organization, aido, so yeah there’s a lot of things that are being done by departments, lincolnshire police. I mean you’re, seeing them on twitter all the time and mainly for for finding lost people and how effective it’s been. I mean there’s one great story where they went out. They’Ve done a search, they’d search, the area there was a. It was an accident where a person was missing from the vehicle. They flew the drone. They found the guy actually not too far from the car in a ditch and he would have died. Had the drone not found him so yes, we’re learning a lot of things from agencies, and then i have to mention jim alcock over search and rescue she’s, doing a lot of great work with drones in the uk uh with the search and rescue teams. So, yes, we have a lot to learn from each other and especially where we have specialized areas that add to our overall cadre of general responses. That kind of leads us into the next question. I think i mean so we have a number of years now around the world, uh first responders using drones. At the same time, we have these different brands, hotel dji para – to come up with with new drones, with new features, fixed wing thermal cameras, 4g connectivity.
Now, from a first responders point of view, what would be the ultimate drone like what kind of features and requirements would you think of if, if you were going to design the ultimate drone for first responders, what’s most important for those people? Well, uh there’s there’s, a you just ask a really uh loaded question. I think that the drone that public safety is looking for when you look at the technologies and the things that are being worked on. Let me just kind of give you a a wish for the future. I want to have a reasonable size drone that can fly longer for multiple hours that can give visual optics. That has zoom capability that has thermal image capability, but then also ties into utilizing lidar and then taking that all in and pulling it into a synthesized process of doing a tactical streaming. Video that can also connect with with artificial intelligence, for example, nasa is working on a project to say, let’s, send a drone out and go fly an area and let it identify the areas of damage, because it’s now comparing previous satellite imagery to the drone imagery and Now it only captures those areas that have damage so that’s i’m, just throwing out there, but in addition to that we’re, seeing as as the programs mature, this is not too far off because we’re working with this esri and mapping thing that we’re doing so that during Disasters, uh we’re, seeing out in the wildfires in california.
Now you you’re, combining your digital imagery from the drone to your gis layers and it starts being able to show people. What’S happened in certain areas that you can do the the the 360 views that the panoramic views of an area that give that situational awareness and allow people who’ve lost their home, see what their neighborhoods look like. But the gis layers become really important. As you see, major major wildfires and major hurricanes that destroy and devastate every geographic reference that’s there homes are gone, signs are gone, roads, aren’t, clear to see and and there’s so many things that come with that with with the uh um debris, removal and road. You know road monitoring as far as roadways being open and closed, and i mean the list goes on. Yeah romeo dershow shared that with me once uh, when i met him at one of the conventions where they overlaid google maps with street names over aerial images and maps. So you could actually see what the names of the streets were so rather than directing a fire crew to the blue house, they were able to show this and say on your phone on google maps. You go to this intersection of these two streets and i thought that was really a smart thing. Um you mentioned longer flight times as one of the critical requirements for for first responders. I mean right now you either switch out batteries or you have multiple drones that you can alternate with.
Another solution has been tethered drones that can stay up for for a prolonged time. Do you see a use case for them? Is that the way to go that you can just put a drone up? You may not have the range of motion, but it can stay up for hours and on end yeah. I’M glad you mentioned that because um, yes, i we los angelo city fire, probably coined this first and that was identifying the tether drone it’s kind of a tier one type of response that, as you arrive on the scene, that a strategically positioned vehicle immediately launches the Drone to give you that quick overhead reconnaissance and maintains monitoring throughout because it’s tethered, it maintains constant power, so it doesn’t mean require any changing and the logistics are very limited. But you know photocoit’s a great example of having both visual optics and thermal and you can switch back and forth between the two and it can be seen on a tablet by an incident commander and again. That goes back that, if you’re doing an elevated stream, albeit the tethered, has a limit of 150 feet, it’s able to see certain things as far as the effectiveness of the fires, the heat signatures that may be coming through the roof and so on. And i know that l.a city fire is looking at putting a tethered drone on all their battalion chief vehicles. So that means they’ll have a tier one ability on every significant response they go to and then they’ll use the untethered drone to fly those tactical missions to find more information that they need, specifically, that a tethered drone is limited to do, uh and and to the Point uh pierce fire apparatus has gone to to where they have what they call their situational awareness package.
That is a drone that comes when you purchase your fire apparatus, so it can be on the cab of the apparatus or in a compartment and now be launched automatically from uh on arrival. So yeah and it’s simple it’s. You push a button and it’s up flying and you push a button and it lands so which branch of public safety is using drones, the most um or drones, drone programs. So by our study we saw law enforcement is in the lead, we’re starting to see that gap grow even more we’re, seeing law enforcement, adopting it and and moving into it more quickly than fire. Uh second, is this: is the fire service um because of the things we discussed and then the third is emergency management, but they’re they’re coming up faster too so, law enforcement because of the criticality and the reconnaissance for those missions fire because they’re starting to see the Fire and hazmat capabilities and emergency management for understanding how bad is bad and ongoing situational awareness and recovery and charles. I want to talk about the instant mapping capabilities that we’re starting to see from a lot of different manufacturers. We we have skype browse that can do basically, you fly a video for a few seconds, a few minutes, and then you get a full, very precise map. We see pix4d doing something similar as well and then schedule just released a software where they can do 3d mapping last week.
How important is this, and how do you see the public safety department kind of reacting to these kind of software, and is this something that really has an application? It has a. It has a major application, i think that’s. What we’re seeing is the maturity of the programs or when people realize they go through the phase of they got, they got a drone in the sky, they go. Oh, i can see things i couldn’t see and they’re excited and then they go. If, if we had zoom, we can see even more, this is great, then they get thermal image and they go wow. We can see visual and thermal, and so then they get streaming and it’s like. So you see this this phase process that’s because they continue to learn, except when we start putting this together. The data analysis and mapping is crucial and the fact that we have these vendors sky, brows, pix4d skydio out there in a competing environment is great for public safety because they are going to continue to improve their products uh, to be something that’s really important for us And i think we see some different angles of the technologies, so some of the technologies work when you have connectivity, some don’t work too well and have connectivity. So you have to look at that as well as which model makes the most sense, because if you’re in very austere conditions, you may not have connectivity, so you may end up using something like a pix40 react that can be done on your your own program.
Your internal and then be able to put the cloud later or if you have great connectivity, you can use sky, braille, skydio and or pix4d so yeah we’re. Seeing a lot of these things and you’ve got site scan coming out from esri as well, which is which is kind of based on a pix4d backbone. And i can see you know you had a hurricane and you had something that wiped out completely the area. And you need to rebuild an actual map from five minutes ago, not from satellite six months ago. I can see how this would be life saving, so yeah. I think you had another question yeah. I think it’s fair to say that all four of us are strong proponents of drones being used for good and to benefit society and help save people’s lives. Uh greg with the pilot institute has quite a reach and has quite a big audience. Cara writes for dp review. She reaches a lot of people. I reach quite a few people with drone excel. Then we have the pixel drone show. What can we do to to help you promote uh, drone responders and also just drones for good in general? Like are there things that that you specifically think of that we could do to to help you well, i think, um, just getting the word out about drum responders and what we have to offer and and again the important thing here is: membership in drone responders is Free and and what we’re doing, in addition to that, we have the resource center, but we also have working groups.
We have the major cities working group. We have the drone as a first responder working group uh. We just started the women in fire service drones. Working group, um we’ve we’re doing a lot of different things that are out there so promoting that letting people know – and i think the other thing is continuing for us to partner on how do we can create training opportunities where people are drawn to those really quality Training programs that make them proficient and safe when they’re flying in the airspace yeah i can vouch to that proficiency is proficiency, is the key. I i have kind of a question that might be difficult for you to answer. What is your favorite story, that you’ve heard where a public safety agency used a drone and and led to positive outcome? Oh well, now you’re you’re scrambling my head from different ones, and i have to pick one um. You know, i think it would have to be the the there was a use case in the uk, where they had an 82 year old man who was lost in like heavy cane field um, and it was the drone that factually found him identified his geolocation. He was just about gone and then, by coordinating those those geo coordinates to their their kind of coast guard. If you will, a helicopter was able to come in and drop a a seat down to him to put him in and bring him out.
And if it hadn’t been that combination of effort of the ground searchers. But you literally see this in the video where they find him and the rescuers get to him and then he’s brought out. You know in the basket, so um that’s, probably one, but there are a lot of others. When i told you about lincolnshire where they found the guy off the road, one funny story that i heard about early on was when they had a law enforcement, had a guy who had escaped them and was on a little bitty island in the in the everglades And um they were had a drone up and they said hey just want to let you know, we know where you are and we just want to. Let you know that in five minutes you have four alligators descending on your location and you can stay there or you can come to us in about 15 seconds. He was in custody, so that’s um, you know we’re seeing we’re seeing the same thing where people are trying to escape a drone from law enforcement and they’re flying over. They see the drone. They just stop so it’s it’s having an impact and then one more i’m. Sorry, i’m, just taking up i can’t couldn’t choose just one: you go to atlanta, pd flying interior to a murder suspect they fly in. The guy sees the drone, puts his hands on his head walks out to into custody um.
Oh okay. I can’t forget this one. Chula vista’s situation, they’re flying over uh they’re doing a reconnaissance because they’ve got the drones. The first responder program, because they’re in advance of police they’ve got a report of a man with they believe a gun outside of a restaurant. The drone flies over zooms in and, as it turns out, it’s a cigarette lighter gun. Well, you can imagine in today’s environment that changes the whole dynamics and de escalates the situation where police are able to easily walk in and say, look you’re, making people nervous put that away or leave, and nobody was hurt so you’re starting to see questions. I remember when that one was reported and the fact that the in the atlanta situation being able to fly interior now to do missions, uh police officers, not in harm’s way, walking in where they could be shot. There’S there’s a case in york county where they had. They had hostage situation for 12 hours. They just waited outside, they heard a gunshot, they didn’t know what that meant. Did the guy, you know, kill himself um york, county virginia fire went in with their law enforcement team and flew in could see that he actually had. He killed himself, so nobody had to go in and take a chance in a dangerous situation, so we’re seeing there’s, basically three things that i identify with drones, make a difference for one. They enhance the safety for everybody involved, the responder and our citizens.
It helps with situational awareness right now and it helps to improve our effectiveness by better decisions because of information that we didn’t have before yeah. One of my favorite stories uh, i think, was last year. I believe in sacramento california, where the police officer actually flew a tiny cinema or fpv drone into a house or into an apartment, and they were able to basically get in there scope the place out see what the situation was before anybody had to go in and It was a pretty tense and potentially dangerous situation so to be able to to send an fpv drone in and keep everybody safe. I thought it was pretty genius yeah, so um. What is your favorite drone? It doesn’t even need to be public safety related know. I don’t have a favorite drone uh, because the favorite drone is really based on the circumstance that you’re flying so and you’re not going to get me on that hook because i’ll get in trouble. I would say my favorite drones are the ones that are corporate patrons to drone responders and support what we do there. You go all right, it’s, a question we ask all of our guests, so throw it out there dodge the question. Well, charles. I. I really appreciate your time i think we’re coming up to the uh to the end of the show. Is there anything that we missed? That you think is important that our viewers, our listeners, need to know about public safety about drone responders.
You said it’s free. How can people get more information, just go to drumresponders.org, they can become a member and it takes about three minutes, and then you have access to the resource center and all the folders and you’ll see the other activities that are taking place. The announcement of different conferences that that we’re participating with that, i think we have you guys involved with um. I think the the other thing, if you’re thinking about this, make sure you find out what you’re getting into first, because it’s not just about buying and flying there’s a lot of logistics, there’s maintenance, there’s record keeping there’s training there’s. All these things that go with it understand that first and then the second thing is, if you’re, when you get ready to get started, look around to other departments around you that have already started their programs use the map to find out where the programs are so That you can see that they’re nearby and then the other thing we hope people can use the map for is to identify departments around them to help for regional training opportunities, to bring people together for either mutual aid and or training so that’s uh that’s. My last recommendations: well, we appreciate your time. Definitely please listeners watchers, please go and take a look at drone responders. Please join if you’re a public safety agency like we said it’s free, uh, charles. I know you have a weekly podcast with microchip from the fa.
Getting getting the the information straight from the top, so mike is a great guy. He has a ton of information and he’s always willing to share his information. Just like you are so thank you for joining us really and uh. We, if you’re watching on youtube, please uh subscribe, so that we know that you can get all the notifications when we post new episodes. We have plenty more people coming down the pipeline, but charles thanks again and uh, and and good luck with the program. Yes, one more thing so i have to. I have to put this this shameless plug in if you’re, if you’re a public safety agency, and you want to train your pilots. Look at the pilot institute public safety training program that we’ve partnered you guys with because it’s the only one out there that covers part 107 and koa training, so um it’s important for people to know that yeah. Well. I appreciate that. I appreciate the working relationship that we have and uh and we have more of these courses coming up. We have in this course that’s right around the corner that i think is going to be really exciting. So, charles thank you, and we will see you very soon. Thank you all.