The Texas attorneys partner with the Austin-based drone software company
By DRONELIFE Staff Writer Jim Magill
Imagine a search and rescue mission where a hiker is lost in a remote, brush-covered region of West Texas. The state’s leading law enforcement agency, the Department of Public Safety, is launching several drones to conduct the search, as is the local sheriff’s department.
An application from Austin-based drone software developer DroneSense helps ground operations officers to coordinate the flight of several unmanned aerial vehicles and increases situational awareness for the entire scene.
On Tuesday, the company announced that DPS has signed a multi-year contract with DroneSense to provide the agency with the tools to “improve situational awareness by centralizing and integrating large data sets and creating the ideal environment for multi-agency collaboration and effective collaboration Any public security crisis can be created. “
With the DroneSense platform, drone pilots, operators and administrators can easily and effectively communicate with one another and exchange business-critical information. The software is hardware independent, meaning it can be used by agencies that operate drones made by multiple manufacturers, including DJI, Parrot, and Autel. It can also run on iOS and Android phones and tablets.
“There’s a whole piece of collaboration that allows pilots not only to collaborate in real time from one agency, but also to connect with multiple agencies in the same scene and share video, telemetry and geospatial information,” said Chris Eyhorn, CEO of DroneSense in an interview.
Eyhorn said the software provider has had a “laser beam focus on public safety” since it was founded in 2015. “We believe that using drones in your space can fundamentally change the way firefighters, law enforcement and emergency management services do their jobs. ” he said.
DPS, which has a fleet of more than 100 small unmanned aerial vehicles, uses drones in a wide range of missions including law enforcement, counter-terrorism, disaster relief, and search and rescue. The agency also offers drone operations training at its Florence, Texas facility, where UAS operators from agencies across the state and the country are trained in real-world situations such as night operations, search and rescue and evacuation buildings.
DPS “was really a leader in public safety,” said Eyhorn. The agency is a leader in the adoption and operationalization of drone technology.
The contract continues the existing cooperation
The agreement announced this week continues an existing relationship between DPS and DroneSense.
“The contract allows us to add more drones and products to the platform faster,” said Eyhorn. “For us as a company, the contract is also an endorsement of the value we bring to them and the value they can show the state of Texas when they have a big program like this.”
To ensure that its applications can be run in conjunction with drones from different manufacturers, DroneSense software implements each manufacturer’s software development kit (SDK).
“We’re translating that into our own DroneSense SDK,” said Eyhorn. “The rest of the platform and all other functions are based on our SDK. When we have a new drone from a manufacturer that we want to support, all we have to do is translate the software development kit into the DroneSense SDK and then suddenly participate fully in the rest of the ecosystem. “
In its contract with DPS, the agency uses DroneSense software to increase situational awareness on a number of different operations that use drones: search and rescue, surveillance of a SWAT raid, or arrest of suspects who are fleeing.
“During a disaster response, everyone is running DroneSense. If you have multiple drones, you can spatially see where all the drones are, but more importantly, where they were, ”he said. The software enables task commanders on the ground to summarize the flight paths of all drones involved in the mission during a certain period of time into a single image.
“It makes multi-drone operations very seamless where it becomes very complex without such a tool,” said Eyhorn. “Commanders can get a clear picture of where they have flown and where they have not.”
Software helps with searches
During a search and rescue operation in which a hiker calls for a fall and a broken leg 9-1-1, the dispatcher gives the drone pilot the correct longitude and latitude position and the pilot can quickly enter the data into the application. Mark the location of the incident.
“This marker is shared with all the other pilots in the operations center and they can click a button and [the drone] will fly autonomously to this manufacturer and he can have real-time video feeds and lead the rescue teams, ”said Eyhorn.
DroneSense recently released a mobile streaming and tracking app that can run on mobile devices. In this way, on-site searchers – even four-footed – can transmit videos and follow them in real time in the same way as aircraft.
“We can now bring in assets without drones and broadcast the video from those devices live to the back-end,” said Eyhorn.
With this app, searchers can strap a cell phone to the neck of a search and rescue dog and let go of the dog to find the injured person. “The pilot can see exactly where the dog is and the drone can fly to follow him.”