01.06.16 - DJI Phantom Drone

Responding Even Faster

In Ford, Technology by Jesseb Shiloh

When we are in an emergency situation it feels like an eternity before the first responders make it to the site of our need.  In reality the time is only minutes and possibly less for these emergency professionals to make it to you.  Time is precious when disaster strikes or an emergency situation is present and getting information faster to know what resources are necessary makes a huge difference in the survival rate of those in peril.  In an effort to assist these response teams in gathering the necessary data Ford is working with DJI to have a drone that can be launched from the bed of an F-150.

The idea for this collaboration is to have a drone that launches and can send back a feed of the video the truck or to the smartphone of the response team to gain information quickly.  The purpose of this drone will be to review a disaster site such as a fire or earthquake and give information that can be helpful in the rescue of survivors.  This can be the perfect tool for use in locations that are not able to be entered with any vehicle, including a tough and rugged off road vehicle.

Currently the expectation for the use of this vehicle will be by the UN, but could be expanded to be used for a wide variety of agencies that are charged with responding to disasters.  The testing has begun to take place with the goal of becoming an invaluable tool for the response teams to use in finding out as much as they can about a disaster site and the number of survivors present.  This drone to vehicle feed could allow fire fighters to know where to aim their spray more easily, or help determine when an aerial rescue is needed.

Other uses of this technology could be for land surveyors and construction workers.  Even though the drones have a limited range they could be used to show what a team is up against before readying themselves for construction or demolition.  This could be a tool that makes these teams more efficient and effective overall.  The drone can actually follow the truck as well, gathering the information needed as it flies along the path behind the truck.  Certainly there will be other benefits and uses for this drone to truck technology, but these are some of the uses we can think of immediately.

This system isn’t completely ready to go as of yet though.  Ford and DJI are looking for a third party to develop the system and come up with the link between the three systems.  In an interesting method and contest for finding this solution there is a $100,000 prize on the line for the team that can come up with this new system that will allow the DJI drone to communicate seamlessly with the Ford SYNC AppLink or the OpenXC platforms.  I’m sure the team is out there that can do this and help bring the first response teams of the world their next greatest tool to help them arrive prepared at the disaster site much faster where time is precious.