Advantages of ResponDrone system flexibility & durability highlighted at AUS&R & AUVSI BROADCAST
The AUS&R & AUVSI 2020 BROADCAST event was held in Israel on September 7, 2020, showcasing a variety of innovative unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) platform technologies, interviews with leading experts and a live chat system.
During such a live chat, Eric Freeman, the CEO of ResponDrone partner Alpha Unmanned Systems, provided a presentation on the ResponDrone Project entitled UAVs for emergency incidents.
Eric opened with a brief overview of the ResponDrone project, and stressed the importance attributed by Alpha to playing a key role in the 20 company consortium’s effort to develop a UAV-based platform for first responders. Eric underscored the need for initial situational awareness & assessment when coming to deal with a natural disaster such as a fire, flood or earthquake.
The ResponDrone system is specifically designed to provide first responders with a flexible and durable UAV-based platform to provide eyes on the ground, while the operators are located at a safe distance from hazard zones.
In Spain, Alpha works together with the Military Emergencies Unit (Unidad Militar de Emergencias or UME) a relatively new branch of the Spanish Armed Forces responsible for providing disaster relief throughout Spain, and on occasions in disaster areas across the globe (the unit has worked in the past in Ecuador following volcano eruptions and earthquakes).
Eric underlined just how now, at the peak of the summer firefighting season in Spain, the system’s dual sensor camera helps the firefighters to detect hot spots, and thus provide the firefighters with essential information towards focusing their efforts and minimizing wasted resources.
The drone’s 3,000 meter ceiling is an essential capability enabling it to fly well above the intense heat and smoke of forest fires, and thus relay crucial information back to the firefighters in real time.
The key advantages of the Alpha -800 platform for use in the project, as summed up by Eric include:
- Multiple-tasking – the system is able to perform multiple tasks in time-critical missions when human resources such as pilots are limited. A single operator can fly 3-4 UAVs dealing with a variety of missions from communications relay to search and rescue, and the delivery of logistic payloads.
- Long endurance platform – the Alpha-800 is cable of up to three hours autonomous flight, with a range of up to 50 km.
- State-of-the-art optical capabilities – equipped with an 800 meter image slant range, the platform can accurately read a truck license plate from a 700 meter distance. It has 30x optical zoom and 2x digital zoom sensors and a scene steering (image stabilization) capability, obviating the need for the operator to engage in manual micro-correction in order to relay a sharp, stable image.
Another key quality of the platform is the fact that it is fully integrated with other systems. Eric revealed an interesting new development in this regard, explaining that recently for first time the platform was actually physically operated in Spain while its flight path was defined and edited in real time from Israel via a 4G network.