This Tuesday was the first day of DJI’s second annual AirWorks Conference in Denver, Colorado. It's an event focused on promoting ways for drones to be used by law enforcement and industries like agriculture, construction and energy, and there’s been a few big announcements to come out of the event.
For the first big announcement to come out of the event was DJI’s first web app called FlightHub, which essentially allows you to manage more than 10 drones all at once. The other announcement revealed that DJI will be releasing two new versions of their customizable Wind drones. DJI says the new version of these Wind drones will offer a custom build will go above and beyond what they usually offer.
DJI posted an introduction to FlightHub on their YouTube channel when it was announced.
In addition to the new app and Wind drones, DJI announced that they are partnering with the Menlo Park, California Fire Protection District, which conducted over 120 drone flights during the recent Santa Rosa Fire. The DJI drones used in the fire response efforts were reportedly able to “provide situational awareness for authorities, assist with search and recovery efforts, and survey destroyed neighborhoods,” according to a press release.
Menlo Park FPD happens to be one of the first to beta test the new FlightHub software, offering them features like real-time data on each controlled drone’s position, orientation and speed, four simultaneous live streams, and media management from multiple units in cloud storage.
DJI’s been working with fire departments and it’s clear that they’re furthering their drone’s ability to assist those departments.
“Working closely with DJI the past 18 months has enabled us to better understand just how much more utility we can get from their aerial drone platforms,” said Harold Schapelhouman, fire chief at Menlo Park FPD. “Our collaboration in Santa Rosa produced a tremendous amount of insightful data that has helped us develop a plan of action and manage our resources more efficiently during this critical time. As they experience the pain points of coordinating disaster operations and on-site data transfer, we discover more ways in which we can push the boundaries of aerial technology to better serve the community.”
Transportation industry has also been able to beta test FlightHub and they’ve found that it’s made their jobs easier to manage. “When we first started the drone program at BNSF, we had to develop a lot of processes from scratch, including the tasks of manually logging flights and conducting checks to ensure each team out on the field was following maintenance instructions at all times,” said Nick Dryer, UAS Field Ops Manager at BNSF, one of the largest freight railroad network operators in North America. “FlightHub has made our program significantly easier to manage by providing a full view of real-time operations and internal communications in one platform. This solution has given us the opportunity to further expand the use of this new technology in an old industry.”
Drones are quickly becoming an effective tool for civil services and private industries alike, and the announcements that came with DJI's AirWorks Conference this year only seem to confirm this.