We all know that drones have the capability to reach hard-to-access locations whilst providing a breathtaking view from above - but what if this power could be harnessed to help with emergency situations? Imagine, for example, a drone which could effectively survey a town after an earthquake had hit, or give an informative view from above after a devastating flood.
The crux is that drones have the potential to speed up emergency response procedures without the need to put further lives at risk. Because of this potential, drone manufacturer DJI has teamed up with Ford to produce a system capable of surveying emergency situations for the United Nations. I say they've teamed up; what they've actually done is make it the end goal of this year's DJI Developer Challenge. Teams from around the world will compete to put together a drone which can launch from the back of a truck before providing actionable information about the surrounding environment in an emergency situation.
The DJI Developer Challenge, announced at CES in Las Vegas, requires a drone-to-vehicle system combining a Ford F-150 pickup, a DJI drone and the Ford's onboard software. Developers will need to use Ford's Sync 3 infotainment system as a base of operations for the drone, through which the pilot can control the drone and see through its eyes. Live footage and environmental data will be relayed back to the truck before being sent off for further analysis.
As well as seeing their design in action in real-life United Nations emergency procedures, the winning team will walk away with a cheque for $100,000.