Over the last six weeks, Elizabeth Police Departments UAS Unit has been deploying a Drone as a First Responder (DFR) program. Detective Luis Figueiredo has been leading a team of pilots who are actively deploying to 30+ calls a day, never “keeping the UAS on the ground for longer than ten minutes.” DFR is designed to yield the same benefits as a manual drone program; it separates the UAS from the response time of getting a trained pilot on scene. Paladin has helped departments set up their programs in 911 dispatcher centers, police headquarters real-time crime centers, but never did we expect to set one up outside in the parking lot!
With the Draxxon van, EPD is able to operate the UAS on one computer and have 4 different screens to show the PIC the information they need on any given mission. One screen has a full screen mode of the video feed and the one below has the full controls able to be manipulated by a keyboard and mouse. The PIC primarily uses a touch screen computer to control the movements of the UAS. One screen has minute by minute wind and weather readings. The one below has RadarBox, a website that shows all aircraft in the area and their altitudes. One of the greatest advantages the DFR program has seen operating out of the Draxxon van is that Knighthawk lands 10 feet from the door. The pilot simply walks outside, swaps the battery in 30 seconds, waits two minutes for it to come online, and then resumes flying. See more pictures to get a feel for the efficiency that the Draxxon van has provided to EPD’s DFR program.
The Knighthawk is a drone purposely designed to get to an emergency as fast as possible, stay on scene for as long as possible, and return home to get ready for the next call – all without pilot intervention. Knighthawk comes equipped with LTE communication technology that allows us to introduce True Unlimited Range. No matter how far you send the drone, you won’t lose video or control of the drone, even in dense, urban environments as long as there is a cellular network. This functionality also helps us send Knighthawk beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) with complete confidence. It also comes equipped with a 10x zoom and thermal camera, is weather-resistant, and has over 55 minutes of flight time (with the payload, not without).
Watchtower is our all-in-one application that allows any first responder to deploy the Knighthawk with a single tap, see its live video feed from anywhere, manage flight, video, and equipment records, and even notify users if any part of the drone needs servicing. All of this happens in the background and automatically – when a 911 call comes in, Watchtower dispatches Knighthawk to the emergency as DFR, notifies the department about the status of the drone, and sends its video feed to everyone and anyone who needs it. When the mission is done, Watchtower automatically uploads the mission logs, video footage, and flight information for the department to review and download at any time.
We’re proud to be working with departments across the country that are pushing towards the future of first response. Through Paladin, they’re able to get a live overhead view of an emergency before they arrive. Now, instead of relying on little to no information, they’re able to view the emergency exactly as it’s happening, and start planning before they arrive.
We’ve already responded to over 2000 emergencies across multiple states, and are excited to be onboarding new cities every week. Every day, our system is being used to keep people safe, de-escalate situations, and empower first responders with the exact information they need, when they need it.