Drones are having an incredible impact on a number of industries, and public safety is no exception. Their wide ranging applications have made them extremely popular among many public service bodies. But when deciding which drone to opt for, it can be hard to tell which one is most suited to your branch of public safety operations. That’s why we’ve gone over the very best drones for public safety on the market.
How can drones be used for public safety?
There are a few main areas of public safety where drone use has become prominent:
Police departments worldwide have been keen to adopt drones into their operations. When you look at how effective they can be for enforcing the law, it’s clear to see why.
The main advantage for the police force is the aerial view drones provide and their ability to cover areas where officers can’t. For example, a drone can bypass roadway congestion and quickly arrive at the scene of an accident. A drone can also investigate a potential bomb threat without putting any officers in danger.
Many drones are fitted with thermal cameras, which you can use to detect the heat signature of a runaway criminal. This makes it a lot easier to locate a suspect as compared to on foot.
The only alternative is helicopters, which are more expensive to implement and slower to respond. Drones offer a more flexible and cost-effective solution.
Another area of public safety that has seen tremendous benefit from using drones is the fire department. Drones provide an aerial view of an incident, allowing firefighters to better understand how best to respond.
Thermal imaging cameras are used to detect heat sources unseen to the eye. As a result, firefighters can enact a more targeted response that kills fires more effectively and wastes fewer resources.
Threats can also be identified remotely, helping to understand if an area is safe before sending in a response team. While drones aren’t typically used to put out fires physically, the situational awareness they provide is invaluable.
The introduction of drones has transformed disaster response and rescue services. There are several ways they’ve done this:
Drones can observe the direction both wildfires and floods are heading in. This can help evacuate those in potential areas at risk ahead of time, saving lives and resources.
In the aftermath of a disaster, drones are excellent in aiding search and rescue efforts. You can use them to identify the location of stranded individuals and drop off emergency supplies to them as necessary.
After earthquakes, many major transport routes are blocked or damaged. Drones are often used to scope out safe paths of travel away from dangerous areas.
These are only a few of the numerous ways drones have been used for effective disaster response.
Best drones for Public Safety
1. DJI Matrice 300 RTK
DJI are one of the leading drone manufacturers, so it’s no surprise they have one of the best public safety drones in the form of the DJI Matrice 300 RTK.
It boasts an impressive 55 minute battery life, making it a reliable option for situations where a longer flight time is required.
This is further exaggerated by the hot swappable battery system that keeps power flowing without the need to reboot the aircraft. What’s more, it comes with a quick-charging battery station that allows for rapid recharging of up to four flight/controller batteries.
The Matrice 300 RTK also features a 15 kilometre range transmission. This is particularly useful in disaster scenarios where a drone pilot must remain at a safe distance from the area being investigated.
Another exciting feature of this drone is the advanced dual operator mode. It allows multiple operators to interchange control of the drone and payload with the tap of a button.
For optimal positioning and obstacle avoidance, dual vision and Time of Flight sensors appear on all six sides of the aircraft.
It can support up to three payloads simultaneously, with the Zenmuse h20 series a highly compatible choice.
The DJI Matrice 300 RTK is reliable, versatile and cost-effective. It is clear to see why it is a favourite of public safety bodies.
2. Skydio 2
Next up on our list is the impressive Skydio X2E. Skydio built this drone with public safety applications in mind. One of its main focuses is on ‘Skydio Autonomy’, which allows first responders to focus on their mission instead of piloting the aircraft. They implement this intention through a wide range of features.
For example, its GPS denied flight capability allows pilots to navigate areas that would typically be out of bounds. Combine this with its 360-degree obstacle avoidance, and you have a drone that can easily weave in and out of obstacle dense areas.
This makes it extremely useful to pursue a runaway criminal or carry out a tight search and rescue mission. For nighttime operations, the drone is equipped with strobe lighting and GPS night flight.
The Skydio X2 has a reasonable flight time of 35 minutes, with a wireless range of up to 10km. In terms of payload options, there is a 4K60P HDR colour/thermal camera with 16x digital zoom shipping now.
Overall, the Skydio X2E is equipped with all the features necessary to make it an effective drone for public safety operations.
3. Evolve Dynamics SkyMantis
The SkyMantis by Evolve Dynamics is a favourite of police and firefighting departments worldwide thanks to its high endurance.
The Skymantis was designed to function effectively in all weather conditions. That includes heavy rain, high heat, snow and strong winds of up to 46 mph. Combine this with its impressive 1 hour flight time, and you’ve got a drone that can withstand the harshest of conditions.
Another reason why it’s popular among public safety bodies is because it’s ideal for rapid deployment. It only takes one minute to get it up in the air, and its quick battery swap feature minimises downtime. This is vital in emergency situations where a fast response is crucial.
It features a dual HD 30X zoom low light EO and 640×512 30FPS thermal as standard. There are also many payload options available for it.
Common applications of this drone include:
Carrying out security perimeter inspections
Assessing fire progress
Finding missing persons or suspects
Locating building hotspots
Conducting structural inspections
Surveillance with the 30x zoom
4. Teal Golden Eagle
The Teal Golden Eagle is an American made UAV that focuses on effortless use, reliability, and extreme effectiveness.
Its primary use case was for short, intelligence and surveillance operations. However, its widely useful features have meant it has been adopted across the public safety sector.
It’s great for overwatch and monitoring missions. It functions in GPS denied environments and has a flight distance of 8 kilometres. Beyond that, it can stay up in the air for 30 minutes, after which the rapid battery swap comes in useful to get the drone flying again. Thanks to its fast takeoff, this process is made even more efficient.
The golden eagle is robust and can withstand harsh environments with up to 30+ mph of wind resistance. Another benefit of this drone is that it is near silent, even when taking off. Combine this with its 50+ mph maximum speed, and you’ve got the ideal drone for recon missions that require a deft touch.
With stable streaming footage, the state-of-the-art FLIR Hadron EO/IR sensor on Teal’s stabilised gimbal helps quickly identify heat signatures in complicated environments.
The Golden Eagle is a versatile drone that can do a bit of everything.
Across the board of public safety, drone use is increasingly being adopted. Many public service bodies are recognising the immense value these UAVs can provide. Not only can they help minimise cost and increase efficiency, but they can have a tangible impact on saving lives and preventing crimes.
We’ve covered four of the very best drones for public safety on the market. Be sure to use this information to help decide which option is ideal for you.