A new model of the Land Rover Discovery will come equipped with a drone for search and rescue operations.
The new model, dubbed ‘Project Hero’ has been specifically designed by Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations for the Austrian Red Cross. The vehicle has the capability to launch and land drones from the roof of the SUV.
It’s hoped that this newest drone application will allow the Red Cross to explore hard to reach terrain during operations in which time is very much a factor.
John Edwards, Jaguar Land Rover special operations managing director, said: “Land Rover and the team of engineers and designers at SVO are proud to support the incredible humanitarian work of the IFRC and its members.
“The new Discovery is an outstanding all-terrain SUV, and Project Hero is the optimum combination of enhanced capability and innovative technology. We hope to help the Red Cross save lives in emergency situations.”
The SUV is the latest model in a long line of cooperative endeavours between Land Rover and the Red Cross, a partnership which has lasted 63 years. This particular instance marks a big step forward in terms of the technology being used.
The “advanced communication vehicle” is equipped with a drone, which can be controlled using a tablet app, deployed from the roof of the SUV. The drone then uses self-centring and magnetic retention in order to land safely on top of the moving vehicle and then stay firmly attached.
The drone broadcasts live footage to the crew inside the vehicle in order to give them a greatly expanded view of the surrounding area. Not only can the drone search for potential survivors, but it can also exam any possible changes to the environment after an earthquake, avalanche, or another disaster that could then put the rescue crews themselves in danger.
The Land Rover Discovery will begin a 12 month trial running simulated operations, starting June 2017 in mountainous mining area, Erzberg, Austria.