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Land Rover Discovery Gets a Roof-Mounted Drone For Search and Rescue

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【Summary】Land Rover has fitted a roof-mounted drone to the new Discovery to help the Austrian Red Cross in the case of a disaster.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Mar 16, 2017 11:00 AM PT
Land Rover Discovery Gets a Roof-Mounted Drone For Search and Rescue

Drones, besides being used as a way for YouTubers to get scenic shots, are becoming crucial pieces of technology for companies and automakers. Airbus recently revealed its Pop.Up flying car, which is essentially a drone that's capable of ferrying a few passengers around town, and Dubai is looking to launch a self-flying drone taxi service later this year. 

Drones To The Rescue

While other automaker's and companies look to drones as a method of transportation, Land Rover sees the flying machines as a way to help search and rescue teams. 

Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) unveiled a bespoke variant of the Discovery dubbed "Project Hero" that will be utilized in search and rescue operations by the Austrian Red Cross. To help the rescue teams get an aerial vehicle of their surroundings, the Discovery is fitted with a roof-mounted quadcopter drone that can take off from the vehicle and land on it, as well. The process can happen when the SUV is moving. To stop the drone from rattling and shaking when it's on the SUV, magnets are used to lock it in place. 

The drone will help the Red Cross' emergency response teams, as it gives them a bird's-eye view of potential survivors and any possible hazards that could get in the way of rescuing stranded individuals. The drone can also broadcast live footage of what it's seeing back to the rescue crew back at the SUV, giving teams a clear, immediate view of what lies ahead. Individuals in the Discovery can control the drone through a tablet app. 

The ability to give rescue teams a current look at the landscape is critical as changes in terrain from avalanches, mudslides, floods, and earthquakes can make maps ineffective. The drone also ensures that rescue teams can investigate a scene from a safe distance. 

SVO created the bespoke vehicle as part of a lengthy partnership between Land Rover and various Red Cross teams around the world. The automaker and the humanitarian organization have been working together for approximately 63 years and the Project Hero is a continuation of the partnership with an emphasis on putting the latest technology to good use. 

Land Rover isn't the only automaker that's experimenting with drones and cars. Mercedes-Benz teamed with drone tech startup Matternet to create the Vision Van as a way of delivering small packages across short distances. Earlier this year, Ford also unveiled a concept, the "Autolivery," that has drones to complete the last 49 feet (15 meters) of the journey between the delivery truck and the drop-off location. 

Automakers aren't the only ones that are trying out new vehicles with drones, though. UPS started to test its drone delivery system last year. The delivery company completed a test that involved delivering medicine from Beverly, Mass. to Children's Island, which is approximately eight miles away. 

Drones are coming, and this time it's not to deliver a package, but to save people from natural disasters. It's only a matter of time until passenger vehicles come with drones, but those will probably be used to see how much traffic lies ahead. 

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