SURVEY SAYS: Public safety sector is embracing drone technology

BREAKING NEWS — The International Wireless Communications Expo has found almost 30 percent of public-safety officials surveyed are embracing drone technology in their agencies. Incident management, rural communications among most cited use cases. Read the full report from Robotics Business Review below.



“ATLANTA – Almost 30% of public safety professionals surveyed by the International Wireless Communications Expo reported they are currently using drones in their operations. The responses were part of an overall industry insights report about the industry’s use of critical communications ahead of the IWCE event in late March in Las Vegas.

The survey was sent to system users from the first responders, public safety, transportation, utilities, oil & gas, education, real estate/construction, as well as others allied to the industry, including consultants and integrators, dealers, distributors and manufacturers. The 597 responses were used to benchmark current technologies used by these professionals and highlight technical challenges for the industry (click here to download the entire report). Respondents were also asked questions about 5G, smart cities, cybersecurity, women in technology, communication tools, and FirstNet.

How are drones being used?

Type Total responses Percentage
Rural communications 155 26%
Incident management 147 24.6%
Delivery service 134 22.5%
Survey disaster areas 117 19.6%
Tower safety 114 19.1%
Building inspection or site evacuation 111 18.6%
Instant coverage 98 16.4%
Find missing people 94 15.8%
Land management 68 11.4%
Insurance companies (to assess disaster area) 63 10.6%
Not applicable 122 20.4%
Other 22 3.7%

“Drones have been one of the most compelling technological developments to hit the critical communications industry in recent years,” said Stephanie McCall, IWCE program director. “We wanted to understand how the sector intended to use drones, as we are now beginning to see their use in real-world applications and expect to see their use become more commonplace.”

Drones were also one of the options to a question about the technologies that respondents thought would impact smart cities the most over the next three years. Just over 11% of those surveyed indicated drones, with a higher percentage saying 5G (53.6%), IoT or IoT of Lifesaving Things (36.7%), artificial intelligence (29.7%), broadband (13.2%) or video (11.9%).

At the IWCE event, to be held March 30 – April 3, the group will host an outdoor drone demonstration area, which will showcase several commercial drones.

In the most recent report on public safety drones conducted by the Bard College Center for the Study of the Drone (May 2018), the group estimated at least 910 state and local police, sheriff, fire and emergency service agencies in the U.S. have acquired unmanned aerial vehicles.”

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