SUPPLEMENTARY DRONE PRODUCTS FOR SEARCH AND RESCUE:
Please note: the technical term for drones – ‘unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)’ – will be used throughout this blog post.
Besides the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and the payloads that were on display at The Commercial UAV Show 2016, there were other supplementary products that stand to offer benefits to search and rescue (SAR) procedures too. This section offers an overview of these accompanying products, highlighting their main features with regards to the SAR sector.
AIRMAST TETHERED DRONE SYSTEM + DJI S900:
Cost: €45,000 (£40,139.91) – includes a DJI S900
Manufacturer: SPH Engineering
Overview: From the magnitude of interviews The SkyBound Rescuer Project has accumulated with SAR professionals, it has become overwhelming obvious that a tethered solution is something they are crying out for. The AirMast Tethered Drone System by SPH Engineering could be a solution for this requirement.
The AirMast Tethered Drone System offers a 100-metre tether that is capable of sending 50 Megabits per second of data down to the operator(s). Ultimately, this is an optical data link and control channel, whilst also being a power source (Ethernet for control and visuals comes down, power goes up) – allowing for improved signal integrity, security, and longevity. This could be a particularly useful tool for Police forces to monitor a large-scale event, as it is an ideal solution for secure operation for prolonged time.
The below bullet points outlines its weather capabilities:
- Maximum wind speed = 27mph
- Resistant to light rain only
- Operational in snow
- Non-operational in lightning as it hasn’t been grounded, hence could become extremely dangerous if operating in a thunder and lightning storm
With regards to its portability, it does offer a hard case for storage and transportation. However, it is roughly 10kg in weight and it requires a generator – which could be 40+kg in weight. Ease of transportation and quick launches are not what this product is designed for. This product is not ideal for the hot (spontaneous) jobs that require a quick/immediate launch, but it could be extremely useful for the cold (pre-planned) jobs, such as event surveillance.
As this product includes the DJI S900 within its cost, the main features of this UAV model have been listed below for your reference. However, the system could be used with other UAVs.
- Diameter = 900 metres
- Foldable propellers/foldable arms
- Weight = 3.3Kg
- Flight endurance (without tethered system) = 18 minutes
- Operational temperature range = -10oC to +40oC
- Maximum take-off weight = 4.7kg (i.e. 1.4kg payload tolerance)
- Highly portable and highly powerful
- Hexacopter with motor redundancy – can still land safely and reliably if one motor fails
Cost: A cost for these devices has been requested, but no response has been received as of yet.
Overview: Flydeo’s Magnum is a rescue parachute system for UAVs, a great way to convert your UAV into a redundant system. It’s key features are listed below:
- Fast parachute deployments within 1 second
- Automatic/manual deployment
- Integrated electronics including backup battery
- Built-in warning buzzer
- Average descent rate 4m/s (9mph)
- Easy to install
- Water and dust resistant
There are 4 different sizes available:
- Magnum 3 for UAVS with a MTOW up to 3kg
- Magnum 5 for UAVS with a MTOW up to 5kg
- Magnum 10 for UAVS with a MTOW up to 10kg
- Magnum 15 for UAVS with a MTOW up to 15kg
AERYONLIVE – REAL-TIME DISTRIBUTION OF UAS VIDEO AND TELEMETRY FOR DJI:
Cost: $6,000 per GoBox (£4,931), 20Mb per month = £950
Overview: After conducting market research with policemen from Dorset Police, one key feature they’d like to see is the ability to stream the video from the UAV back to the control room – for better tactical decision-making, which in turn would save time, money, or even lives; hence AeryonLive Video & Telemetry’s inclusion within this section.
AeryonLive partnered with Dejero to offer AeryonLive Video & Telemetry, with the aim of getting “the right data to the right people, at the right time” (AeryonLive, 2016). It is available for the SkyRanger, Lightbridge supported DJI products, or any HDMI/SDI based video source. Only the version for DJI products will be discussed, given that the DJI Inspire is currently the most widely used UAV within the emergency services.
The below information has been extracted from the AeryonLive brochure, only the key information that interests SAR has been included.
“AeryonLive Video & Telemetry is an integrated solution that streams live video and aircraft telemetry from your DJI system, across a secure, reliable bonded cellular network connection to enable:
- Low-latency video – distribution under 10 seconds glass-to-glass
- Redundant, high-bandwidth communications – video streams across up to 6 cellular networks and WiFi, satellite or Ethernet connections
- Real-time telemetry – readout of critical aspects of aircraft location and performance indicators, including airspeed, battery levels, wind speed, restricted airspace, etc
- Remote control – certain aspects of video feed can be controlled by viewers (e.g. toggle stream on/off, or switch EO and IR cameras)
- No apps required – secure, browser-based access from any size of screen
- Role-based permissions – user management and content access
- Turnkey solution – a single source of software, hardware and network airtime
- Secure deployment options – choose between cloud-based infrastructure or on-premise (physical) server”
In short, the AeryonLive’s GoBox contains six SIM cards and it chooses the one with the best signal to securely stream the live video from your Inspire to remote locations with a mere 10 second delay. For SAR teams, this means:
- Streaming video to the command centre to provide more eyes on scene
- Sharing real-time information to allocate resources in the right location – faster
- Defining and/or expanding the search area
If you have anything to add or questions to ask or recommendations for future research blog posts, please don’t hesitate to use the comment section below. AND don’t forget to email subscribe, so you’re always up-to-date with the world of SAR UAVs!
All references are located on the Introduction page.
All image sources are located on the Introduction page.