Along with a few other announcements in the last week, DJI has quietly released the result of their work with DroneSAR, a search and rescue software team in Ireland. Taking to the skies in an effort to save lives in remote locations, DJI drones offer up the hardware to get the most out of the software.

While drone enthusiasts like you or I will not be actively deployed for search and rescue missions just yet, this software makes it possible for any capable drone to help save a life.

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DJI’s involvement helps get this search and rescue technology into the hands of more users, specifically, widening the range of devices that rescue workers have at their disposal. While a typical ground crew of search and rescue personnel can take an hour or more to find a person in need in a test case one square kilometer grid, the DroneSAR software equipped DJI quadcopter tackled the task in about 20 minutes.

Once airborne, the new software sends images, and live streams video and thermal scans back to the command center in charge. Accurate GPS on the drone means an accurate coordinate can be transmitted back to rescuers on the ground. That info can be sent via email or SMS as well.

With optional programming to search in a grid or follow a set of waypoints, the entire mission is logged and recorded for both immediate handoff to other emergency services or review at a later time.


Beyond a simple flight pattern, the software can help determine environmental factors such as the topography of the area and obstacles like trees and water. Optimizing the flight to get the most coverage in consideration of altitude, battery life and a probability of detection, operation is as efficient and helpful to rescue efforts as the team can manage.

Assisting in the development of both software and hardware testing was the European Emergency Number Association and the Donegal Mountain Search and Rescue team in Ireland.

If we can save just one life, that is mission success for us at DroneSAR.

A noble statement from Oisin McGrath, co-founder and CEO at DroneSAR, who went on to explain that this partnership with their software will reduce the risk to rescue workers and reduce search time.

We look forward to hearing more about this endeavour, and certainly hope to hear some success stories in the news in coming days.

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