Skyports to the rescue: using drones to help the emergency services

The UK’s emergency services are some of the best in the world, working day and night to keep communities healthy and safe. Increasingly they are embracing new technology, such as drones, to help them carry out their challenging jobs more effectively. Today, drones are used when searching for missing persons and for monitoring known areas of crime.

The Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation (YPO), the UK Government and Emergency Services’ procurement arm, recently ran an £8m framework tender for companies interested in providing such leading technologies to emergency services organisations across the country.

Skyports is proud to have been selected for this framework, as one of several companies. Skyports along with its vehicle manufacturing partners Clogworks and Wingcopter will provide, operate and maintain the world’s best multi-rotor and fixed wing drones for the UK emergency services.

To celebrate this achievement, we are delighted to share an overview of the products and services that we have on offer for the emergency services in their day-to-day work.

Emergency Medicine Delivery

Ambulance crews across the UK carry a standard set of supplies when responding to an incident. This usually includes two units of blood and an assortment of emergency medicines. In the event of extreme trauma, however, crews can require additional medicine. An emergency drone delivery service equipped with additional blood units and emergency medicine, such as Nalaxone and Insulin, can provide a rapid delivery system, shaving crucial minutes off the time it takes to reach a patient. Our multi-copter delivery system is ideally suited to navigating heavy traffic urban environments and delivering blood bags to incidents such as stabbings. Our long-range tilt rotor fixed wing vehicle can deliver life-saving medicine like adrenaline to incidents up to 100km away; perfect for rural and more hard-to-reach areas.

Skyports multi-copter delivery system

Search for Missing Persons

In the UK, around 180,000 individuals are reported missing each year and require search assistance from blue light services. Drones provide an effective “eye in the sky” for these search crews and can be fitted with advanced technologies such as infra-red cameras to make finding people easier.  Police forces are currently using manually controlled multi-rotors, constrained by the regulatory and technology requirements for the remote pilot to stay within a couple of hundred metres of the drone. The increasing use of automated drones flying Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) provides a more advanced, efficient and cost-effective method of carrying out this vital role. Skyports’ long-range tilt rotor drone can take off vertically from a small area, then fly a pre-programmed BVLOS route searching for missing persons for up to 90 minutes at a time – all at the touch of a button yet still controlled by the remote pilot. Deploying multiple drones, all flying automatically and sending crucial imagery back to a central control centre will significantly reduce the effort to locate the missing person.

Skyports Automatic Surveillance Capability highlighting the route the drones are taking to surveil the area of interest (Courtesy of Sky-Drones)

Natural Disaster Response

In the past two years, the UK has faced multiple natural disasters and this is likely to worsen as our climate continues to change. From wildfires in the Peak District to floods in Yorkshire, communities have been seriously affected. Drones provide an effective way of transporting emergency supplies, such as medicine into affected areas, while also providing an “eye-in-the-sky” and situational awareness for emergency services. Different dropping mechanisms, such as winches and parachutes, mean that supplies can be delivered into hard-to-reach areas if landing the drone is not possible. Skyports’ vehicle partner Wingcopter is an expert at this, having used a unique winch mechanism to deliver vaccines to villages in Vanuatu as part of a programme funded by UNICEF.

Skyports and its partners looks forward to providing high-tech drones to the emergency services and playing a part in enabling them to help people in need across the country. For any enquiries, please get in touch.