Macon-Bibb county Georgia looked to be a leader on integrating life-saving Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) into First Responder operations. Their talks with an apparently capable UAV system provider appeared fruitful until a pair of local reporters emphasized stereotypical public fears.
A Pulitzer Prize winner and since-departed junior reporter stirred fears of police invasion of privacy without consulting the UAV industry on real operations, as opposed to the reporters’ assumptions.
Market Info Group’s (MiG’s) lead analyst for unmanned aviation recently visited Macon to educate local emergency leaders on the best operating concept for such UAVs.
Politicians are strongly influenced by ‘star’ reporters, of course, so the county’s people must wait significantly longer for services that would likely have saved a fire fighter who died unnecessarily last year. A UAV would have easily detected the hazard that killed him, even when on-scene supervisors did not. Would those politicians have valued his life more than the few millions needed to field UAVs? We hope so.
MiG’s lead UAV analyst will detail that operating concept at the October 6th Commercial UAV Expo 2015 in Las Vegas. There, he will include the simple point that true First Responders (those with lights and sirens) can’t invade anyone’s privacy because they should not control UAVs. 911 call center operators should be educated in the law (including privacy) and direct UAV operations independently. That specifically means those ‘drones’ will not launch without clear probable cause and will not be directed by the police. That’s how Macon-Bibb County would do it. The Pulitzer Prize winner can rest easy.
That presentation will include other operating concept fundamentals, such as how to calculate response time coverage like this study of a real American county:
Source: Market Info Group
Such political decisions (privacy and response times) are just as important as the technical decisions (hardware, basing etc.) that collectively make up an operating concept.
To learn more about MiG’s UAVs for First Responders reports, please click here.
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