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DJI tallies drone savesDJI tallies drone saves

The world’s leading consumer drone manufacturer has counted at least 59 lives saved by drones, and DJI suggests there have been many more as it makes a case against restrictions.

DJI published a survey of worldwide drone saves to date in March 2017. (Report cover image courtesy of DJI.)

The report released March 14 by DJI is based on media reports published in various countries detailing 18 incidents dating from May 2013 through February. The cover photo, taken in China, shows a DJI phantom lowering a small bag of supplies to people stranded on a pile of debris nearly engulfed by raging flood waters in May 2016 in Longsheng County, China. (The report includes links to each media story, and Google’s translation function comes in handy.)

Among the most recent examples, rescuers in Turkey used a drone to locate a film crew lost in deep woods while scouting locations to film, locating the crew as members began to suffer from hypothermia; also in February, a pair of kayakers stranded in South Carolina were located by firefighters who deployed a thermal imaging camera as night fell; and in western Canada, another infrared-camera-equipped drone helped rescue crews find four people who were stuck in waist-deep snow on a ski mountain in British Columbia.

Civilians who happened to be at the right place with the right drone accounted for a third of the people rescued in the DJI survey, and the rate of credited saves is increasing.

“As drones have become more widely used by public safety agencies as well as individuals, the rate of lifesaving drone work now averages almost once per week,” the company stated in a March 14 news release.

DJI said the cases in the report were chosen carefully, “selecting only those in which media accounts clearly demonstrated that people in imminent peril were directly located, assisted and/or rescued with drones.” The tally, DJI said, therefore excludes “many other reported incidents in which drones indirectly helped save lives.”

In boldface type, the company makes a case to regulators around the world that the benefits of drones must be considered along with “reported, and often sensationalized, safety concerns.”

“Regulations that make it more challenging or burdensome to use drone technology as tools to help save lives represent a net detriment to public safety,” the report states.
Jim Moore

Jim Moore

Editor
AOPA Online Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
Topics: Unmanned Aircraft

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