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Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) has designed and engineered a special version of the new Land Rover Discovery SUV for use by the Austrian Red Cross, within the framework of the company’s ‘Project Hero’. The rescue vehicle which is equipped with a search and rescue drone is expected to save lives by speeding up response times to disasters.
According to the businessinsider.com, the special SUV was designed to handle any disaster situation as an emergency car for the Red Cross. The SUV comes with a drone that can magnetically attach to the roof even while the car is moving, and is capable of taking off and landing on the SUV.
Land Rover website claims that this is a world-first magnetic retention and self-centring drone technology. The roof-mounted drone can be used to transmit live footage to emergency response teams in disaster situations like earthquakes, landslides, and avalanches. It can also be used to rescue survivors or missing people.
Dramatic landscape changes can make maps redundant, which adds to the danger and difficulty of finding and rescuing survivors, so the drone’s bird’s-eye view will allow rescuers to investigate an emergency scene from a safe distance.
Project Hero is based on a Discovery with a 3.0-liter TD6 engine.
The car is equipped with a heavy-duty sliding floor in the rear load space, which may be deployed as an addition work surface, or to protect the load carried underneath. There’s also a side panel for storing radio equipment. The trunk comes with charging ports in case of a prolonged stay out in the field. There are multiple plug options to accommodate different regions. Strategically positioned LED lighting was designed to aid night vision.
Project Hero is also equipped with multiple frequency radio equipment enabling contact to be made in a variety of situations.
The back seat of the vehicle accommodates walkie-talkies, and there’s a segregation panel behind the rear seats for storing tools. Land Rover also installed netting to hang bungee cords.
Project Hero will be based at the Austrian Red Cross training center in Erzberg, in the mountainous Eisenerz mining area, and in Vienna, for 12 months from June 2017. The drone will be used in simulations to develop new and innovative techniques for disaster relief and on test-runs for complex natural disaster scenarios, including at night and in dense forests. Project Hero will also be used when the Red Cross provides emergency support at times of natural disasters, such as heavy snow or floods, or accidents.