Air Incident Response: Public Safety using Autonomous Drones in Urban Environments

Louisville, like many cities, experienced a spike in homicides starting in 2016. Recent deployment of gunshot detection technology has been effective at pinpointing where and when gunshots occur. On average, police officers arrive long after the critical, first ten minute window to stabilize injuries. Placing drones strategically throughout our city, we will be able to deploy a camera to the scene within 90 seconds of when a gun is discharged and rapidly dispatch emergency medical personnel.

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Homicides have nearly doubled over the ten year average, resulting in 100+ lives lost annually, 300+ people injured by gunshots and less economic development in distressed neighborhoods. Current crime-fighting and peace-building initiatives are yielding promising results, but it remains a challenge and more needs to be done.

Our project integrates existing gunshot detection technology with autonomous, aerial drones to enhance emergency medical response time to injured persons. Through intelligent coding, drones will deploy to detected gunshots within 90 seconds of detection in geographically predefined areas. Drones will be equipped to stream video to the Real Time Crime Center to augment the existing fixed position surveillance system, allowing personnel to rapidly identify injured persons, dispatch emergency medical personnel, and assist with first responder situational awareness and safety until officers arrive. This innovative solution will be the first of its kind while integrating into our existing peace-building initiatives. The hospital-based Pivot to Peace program approaches victims of gunshot injuries and their loved ones, with the assistance of Community Health Workers and Case Workers, to identify and address the factors in their lives that have put them at risk of violence at a moment when they may be rethinking their choices. No More Red Dots and Cure Violence deploy Violence Interrupters into the community to de-escalate conflicts and break the cycle of violence. In addition, our public engagement effort includes educational and small business creation opportunities including a drone camp for children and Part 107 certification workshops to address the root causes of gun violence in communities.

The consequences of homicide are vast and have rippling effects throughout a community. A combination of factors has shaped an average 12.6 year reduction in life expectancy for residents living in neighborhoods where gun violence is concentrated, as opposed to other neighborhoods in Louisville. Improved medical response times create the opportunity to save lives and connect those impacted by gun violence to our existing ecosystem of emergency first responders, hospitals, violence interrupters, and wraparound services. This program will build trust with the community. Residents will be empowered to promote safety in their neighborhoods and take back public spaces for community use. Businesses will relocate to target areas and residents will feel a renewed sense of local and civic pride. An increased feeling of safety will lead to more outdoor opportunities, increasing public health outcomes for identified neighborhoods.

Louisville was selected to be a 2018 Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge Champion City (finalist) for this project and we are awaiting to hear the status of the grant award for our final application at the end of October 2018.

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Year: 2018
Level of government: Local government


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