Tom Sargent / September 17, 2019

Emergency services deploy drones faster with SOARIZON

Tom Sargent By Tom Sargent

As part of our open innovation ethos SOARIZON® by Thales recently worked with Essex Police Drone Unit, alongside Essex Search and Rescue and SkyBound Rescuer to run a simulated rapid response operation utilising drones to locate a vulnerable missing person.

This operation was designed to test emergency services workflows within the SOARIZON platform for rapid drone deployments.


From the initial emergency alert, through to planning the mission, mapping the search area and all of the drone operations were run through the SOARIZON drone management platform. Essex Police Drone Unit worked hand in hand with more traditional search and rescue methods such as a dog unit and manned search teams to provide a full view of the search area and pinpoint an exact location.

“On a day to day basis we deploy drones for spontaneous incidents. One of the challenges we face is the effective management of those assets and especially those people [pilots]. Systems like SOARIZON can help us in doing exactly that”

Perran Bonner, Emergency Services Flight Operator and Instructor    

Understanding the challenges

The main challenge faced by emergency services drone teams is one of scale.

While it's relatively simple to maintain management and oversight of a small number of drones and pilots, when that number starts to grow it can become an onerous administrative task, which usually falls to just one person.

SOARIZON was designed with this challenge in mind, allowing those who manage drone units to maintain a view of all assets and assign missions within a team. It also includes full access to all air traffic NOTAMS (notices to airmen) and risk assessments to ensure all flights remain fully compliant, so that emergency services drone teams can deploy quickly and efficiently.

Emergency services drone teams can collaborate on missions, as well as share equipment and ensure compliance will full flight and mission logging.

Working collaboratively with emergency services agencies has allowed us to gain an in-depth understanding of the challenges they face in emergency situations every day. It also gives us the opportunity to identify areas for future innovation, such as integration with current 999 systems.

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