An Australian company named White Knight Unmanned Aerial Systems is the first operation in the Canberra area to get approval to fly unmanned aerial systems (UAS) commercially.
The mother-and-son operation received approval through the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) after an involved process that included undertaking a week-long flight training session with the manufacturer of the UAS, Draganfly Innovations Inc.
White Knight Unmanned Aerial Systems has received one of only 39 commercial licenses from CASA to use Unmanned Aerial Systems in Australia.
The National Geographic article titled “5 Surprising Drone Uses” reports the story of how the RCMP using the Draganflyer X4-ES became the first known instance where a UAS has aided in saving a life.
It may seem “surprising” to some, but not to the UAS Industry. The value and importance of using a Draganflyer X4-ES for emergency services has been underrated by many and this amazing news story just goes to show how the UAS is an essential part of any public safety agency’s toolbox.
The recent use of the Draganflyer X4-ES in a life saving mission in rural Saskatchewan has given the Draganflyer systems a lot of press recently.
In CNN’s article, titled “Drones: The future of disaster response”, the story explains how the Royal Canadian Mounted Police utilized the X4-ES platform with FLIR camera to locate an unconscious driver after a single vehicle roll-over. The 25 year-old-man was found 2 miles from the accident scene by the Draganflyer in less than 30 minutes after 2 hours of searching with a conventional helicopter had turned up no trace of the man.
The CNN article describes how Unmanned Vehicles could have been utilized for search and rescue after the recent massive tornado in Oklahoma, and how the advancements of this technology will be the future of disaster response.
On May 10, 2013, following the successful use of the Draganflyer X4-ES in locating a man who had wandered away and became unconscious after a single vehicle roll-over in rural Saskatchewan, RCMP Corporal Doug Green was interviewed on CKOM John Gormley Live. Cpl Green talks about how the Draganflyer X4-ES, equipped with a FLIR camera, helped located the missing accident victim using heat signatures and how the technology ultimately saved the man’s life.
In the early hours of the morning, a driver injured in a single vehicle rollover became lost and unresponsive in the wooded area off of a Canadian highway. After an unsuccessful attempt on the part of a STARS Air Ambulance, the injured driver was rescued after being spotted by a FLIR (Forward Looking Infra-Red) camera carried by a Draganflyer X4-ES quadrotor UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle).
Saskatoon, SK – May 09, 2013
In the early hours of the morning, a driver injured in a single vehicle rollover became lost and unresponsive in the wooded area off of a Canadian highway. STARS air ambulance searched the area and was unable to locate the subject using their night vision goggles. The RCMP arrived on-site with the Draganflyer X4-ES system, coordinated their flight with the full size aircraft, and quickly located the driver using the Draganflyer helicopter equipped with a small FLIR thermal imaging camera.
After being called in at 00:20 hours on May 9, 2013, Saskatoon RCMP investigated the scene of a single vehicle rollover, finding only indications that at least one person had been in the vehicle and was injured. The accident scene was located on Highway #5, 5km east of St. Denis, Saskatchewan, which is about 35km from Saskatoon.
RCMP worked with St. Denis and Vonda Fire Rescue teams and EMS personnel from MD Ambulance. A search of the ground within 200 meters of the scene did not turn up anything. A STARS Air Ambulance was called in and conducted an aerial night vision search of 1000 meters surrounding the area, also without result.
Corporal Doug Green, a Forensic Collision Reconstructionist, equipped with a Draganflyer X4-ES UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) was called in. The Draganflyer UAV located three heat signatures and upon investigating the first, the injured driver was found curled up and unresponsive at the base of a tree next to a snow bank. He was wearing only pants and a t-shirt, having lost his shoes.
The searchers indicated that without the Draganflyer UAV, they would not have been able to locate the driver until daylight. Because of the near freezing temperatures, it is possible that the injured driver would not have survived until then, due to hypothermia. Zenon Dragan of Draganfly Innovations Inc., the manufacturer of the UAV, states “To our knowledge, this is the first time a public safety agency has saved a life using a sUAS (small Unmanned Aerial System) helicopter”.
Early this morning, Saskatoon RCMP received a call of a single vehicle rollover on Highway #5 about 5 km east of St. Denis, Saskatchewan.
RCMP, along with St. Denis and Vonda Fire Rescue, and EMS from MD Ambulance responded to the scene. Upon arriving at the scene, emergency responders could not locate the vehicle’s occupants. The examination of the scene indicated that at least one person had been in the vehicle and was injured. A ground search was conducted within 200 meters of the scene but searchers were unable to locate anyone.
Cpl. Doug Green, a Forensic Collision Reconstuctionist with the RCMP, was contacted and it was requested that he attend the scene with the Draganflyer X4-ES UAV equipped with a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) camera. Once Cpl. Green arrived on the scene, the Draganflyer was launched and a search was initiated in the area of the last known location of the driver. Three heat signatures showed up on the screen of the FLIR. Cpl. Green directed Vonda Fire Department members towards the first heat signature located in the trees 200 meters from his first known GPS location. Fire & Rescue members located the driver at this location, curled up in a ball at the base of a tree next to a snow bank. He was unresponsive and only wearing a t-shirt and pants, having lost his shoes. He was quickly brought out to the road by Fire/Rescue, placed in an ambulance, and was transported to hospital in Saskatoon. Without the Draganflyer X4-ES and FLIR camera, searchers would not have been able to locate the driver until daylight. This technology may have saved the driver’s life.
To our knowledge, this is the first time that a life may have been saved due to the help of a sUAS helicopter.
April 16, 2013 – The Yellowknife RCMP have recruited the Draganflyer UAS for accident scene reconstruction.
The RCMP “G” Division purchased a Draganflyer X4-P, a small, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), and the mini helicopter-like machine has now officially taken to the NWT skies, already lending a helping hand – or rotor – in two vehicle collisions.
The remote controlled Draganflyer, released by the Saskatoon-based company Draganfly Innovations Inc. last spring, features an onboard computer and 11 sensors to keep the helicopter level and pointed in the right direction.