Drones have revolutionized search and rescue operations.
At least 1,500 people worldwide have been saved as a direct result of drone technology, according to official DJI statistics.
Drones are vital to search and rescue operations for the following reasons:
- Efficient coverage of a large area
- Easily reach hard-to-reach areas and scale difficult terrain
- Fast and cheap to implement
- It can fly low to the ground
- Thermal and zoom cameras help searches
- Integrates speakers and spotlights for greater mission versatility
- Drone data can be used to build 2D maps and 3D models for vital situational awareness
“We were looking for a missing teenager. The agents on the ground could not see her. But the drone, with a thermal imaging camera, detected it. Without the drone, she would have been found dead in the morning. The reliability and results of the drones are outstanding.”
Mark Talliss, Wiltshire Police
BEST DRONES FOR SEARCH AND RESCUE
The best drones, sensors and payloads for search and rescue missions.
DJI MATRIX 300 RTK
DJI's powerful and versatile commercial drone platform.
The Matrice 300 RTK is a powerful, rugged and versatile search and rescue solution.
- High strength for extended flight times
- IP45 degree of protection for effective operation in difficult climatic conditions
- Operating temperature from -20°C to 50°C
- 8km operating distance (CE) for large area coverage
- Hot-swappable batteries to minimize downtime
- Wide payload compatibility and carries up to three at once
DJI MAVIC 3 ENTERPRISE
Lightweight, foldable and rapidly deployable drones for search and rescue.
MAVIC 2 ENTERPRISE THERMAL
SEARCH AND RESCUE DRONE CASE STUDIES
Find out how drones are revolutionizing search and rescue teams.
MISSING PENSIONER RESCUED BY DRONE
This video shows the moment North Wales Police used a drone to find a missing pensioner and his family said they wouldn't stand a chance without it.
Roy Giblin, 82, had been missing for nearly 24 hours when he was found with a DJI M300 RTK drone and H20T camera. The zoom, in particular, proved to be useful.
The search had involved foot patrols and the police helicopter, but it was the drone - flying close to the ground - that was able to locate Mr Giblin in an overgrown grassy area.
“Mr Giblin's life was probably saved thanks to the drone. The air cover he provided allowed us to capture a larger area and we spotted him in a different position than where the ground team was looking.”
Sergeant Paul Terry, North Wales Police
DRONE WITH THERMAL CAMERA SAVE THE BLOCKED GROUP
A thermal camera drone helped rescue six missing people from the treacherous dune land, finding them in less than five minutes.
Under cover of darkness, the Southport Lifeboat crew deployed the DJI M210 V2 drone and XT2 thermal imaging camera to scan the large area of complex terrain in Ainsdale.
Just four and a half minutes after takeoff, the operators saw a flash of light from a cell phone belonging to the stranded group. The team stepped in to confirm that it was the missing team and afterward, escorted ground crews to the exact location to get people home safely.
It would have taken at least an hour to conduct the same search using a traditional foot patrol.
DRONES FOR MOUNTAIN RESCUE
Mountain rescue teams benefit from drones.
A case in point is Lochaber, Scotland's busiest mountain rescue team, who cover the UK's highest peak, Ben Nevis.
Deploying drones in such a hostile environment has the following benefits:
- 50% faster than traditional search methods
- Requires fewer crew members for certain missions: the drone can do a quick spot check instead of sending out a large contingent on foot
- Expand the search area and provide an overview of the scene
- Aerial inspections of problem areas including avalanche sites and ledges
- Keep an eye on crew members once they embark on a rescue: where they are and the conditions around them
- Drone mapping to build 3D models of a relief area – especially effective if the team is unfamiliar with the area.
“The drone is a valuable tool for our mountain rescue. It allows us to make deployment decisions and means we can check the area without having to climb – it really increases our situational awareness.”
Mike Smith, Lochaber Mountain Rescue
SEARCH AND RESCUE DRONE TRAINING
3Digital is the trusted partner for the supply of drones in search and rescue organizations throughout Italy.
Our delivery includes proof of concept and consultancy, drone supply, repairs and drone training via our selected partners. Our drone training offerings include the Emergency Services Drone Operator Training (ES-DOT) course, which provides mission-specific training in a closed-course environment.
Our partner we work with also has a proven track record of helping search and rescue organizations create a bespoke search and rescue operations manual.