DJI, the drone industry’s leading manufacturer, has partnered with connected law enforcement specialists Axon to distribute drones to public safety and law enforcement agencies around the world.
The move is the latest in a series of related product, partnership, and research announcements from DJI, as the Chinese manufacturer looks to cement its position as the go-to drone hardware supplier for the emergency services.
As part of the deal, DJI will sell its drones through Axon’s new Air program. As well as giving law enforcement agencies a direct line to the latest in aerial technology, the move also connects DJI drones to Axon’s connected data network and Evidence.com services.
More than 200,000 public safety professionals use the platform already for data management, chain-of-custody controls, and security protocols that work with body cameras and in-car video systems.
Michael Perry, managing director of North America at DJI, suggested that selling drone technology through a trusted third party is the best way to increase adoption with law enforcement agencies and other public services. Giving them the ability to integrate aerial photos and video with other evidence management services is also significant, he said.
“DJI’s partnership with Axon allows law enforcement agencies to add drone capabilities and data services through the same trusted provider they rely on for the tools, data, and support they need to do their jobs safely and effectively,” he said.
“Law enforcement agencies are rapidly adopting drones for their work, and often need guidance on how to establish a drone programme and integrate it into their departments. DJI’s Axon Air partnership will strengthen and enhance law enforcement’s ability to protect public safety, respond to emergencies, and save lives.”
DJI’s push for public safety
DJI’s base technology is most popular among media professionals and enthusiasts for capturing aerial images and videos. But more sophisticated drones, often fitted with specialist cameras and sensors, are also seeing increased adoption by public safety agencies.
“As the requirements and demands of unmanned aircraft programmes grow, Axon is partnering with agencies to build out solutions that meet the complexities and requirements of public safety,” said Axon’s EVP of Worldwide Products, Todd Basche.
“Together, we will focus on creating situational awareness, advanced evidence collection, and programme management tools that will allow agencies to manage their drone programmes alongside their body cameras and in-car video systems.”
Earlier this year, DJI extended a research partnership with the European Emergency Number Association (EENA), a Brussels-based NGO founded to improve emergency service responses. DJI also released a report revealing that drone technology had saved over 65 people from life-threatening situations in the previous 12 months. The total now stands at 133 people worldwide, according to the company.
Ideal for search and rescue missions, and for providing situational awareness to firefighters, the release was heralded as “a significant advance for public safety professionals who are using drones to save lives.”
Internet of Business says
DJI’s push for public safety is no doubt improving revenues and giving the manufacturer a firm foothold in the emerging market of first responder support. But it’s also saving lives. The importance of that can’t be understated – and not just from a human standpoint.
In its report outlining how drones are supporting fire and rescue crews and having an impact in real-world scenarios, DJI was quick to warn that the innovation that emergency services are benefiting from is not guaranteed to last.
“If regulatory policies limit the availability of drones to the general public, then public safety agencies will be less likely to benefit from the innovative technology, economies of scale, and competitive pricing created by a healthy market for consumer drones.”
The message was clear: Heavy-handed regulation of the enthusiast drone market will have consequences for professional – and perhaps life-saving – deployments.