Vehicles used by search and rescue organizations require special equipment to help them carry out their tasks. With that in mind, Jaguar Land Rover decided to outfit the Land Rover Discovery with a roof-mounted drone.
Jaguar Land Rover's Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) team created the bespoke Discovery for the Austrian Red Cross and called it 'Project Hero.' The drone can take off and land while the Discovery is in motion, allowing it to deploy and stream a live video feed to help assess a given situation and aid the emergency rescue team in the Discovery on where best to drive.
Adding a drone to the roof of this Discovery took a little more work than simply attaching a carry box. The SVO team created the world's first magnetic retention and self-centering drone technology, which is what allows the drone to take off and land successfully while the Discovery is driving along.
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The drone is capable of carrying 5,500 grams of weight including all batteries and mounted sensors and has a flight time of 20 minutes over a range of 1km. The Land Rover Discovery modified to carry it is a 3.0-liter TD6 model.
As well as the roof-mounted drone, the Discovery includes a heavy-duty sliding floor which can be deployed as a work surface, LED lighting for enhanced night vision, a power-supply setup to allow for use in multiple regions of the world, and a PALS Mounting Grid to allow easy carriage of a range of different equipment.
The new Discovery is expected to go into service in June 2017 for 12 months based at the Austrian Red Cross training center in Erzberg. Since 1954, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have taken advantage of 120 vehicles supplied by Land Rover. If the drone proves useful, I can certainly see Project Hero expanding to support other organizations beyond search and rescue.