Scanning an area and spotting a victim under an avalanche or rubble, or dropping a defibrillator: a new generation drone was presented to the public this weekend at EPFL.
The Swiss-based company SCS (Smart City Suisse), which sells the rescue drone, is primarily targeting rescue professionals.
This is one of the attractions of the 2018 edition of the Drone Days event that take place this weekend at EPFL. Entirely designed by the Chinese company Hikvision, the world leader in integrated video surveillance systems, the new Falcon series drone could save substantial time during rescue operations, especially in the mountains.
Equipped with 4 powerful engines, it theoretically allows a use up to 12 metres per second of wind, including altitude, all with a range of 35 to 40 minutes for 5 kilos of payload. A power that allows to embark on a choice optical camera 4k, a powerful torch, or a thermal camera with large focal length to locate precisely and quickly victims under rubble or avalanche.
The goal for Benjamin Mora, in charge of business development for Switzerland, Germany and Austria for Hikvision, is to provide a complete integrated solution for professionals.
“All equipment is easily interchangeable by a plug and play system. For example, you can locate a victim, then remove the thermal camera to attach a speaker that communicates from the base to the victims, before fixing the torch to help rescuers,” he explains.
With such a system, we could have located the victims very quickly in the case of the collapsed bridge in Genoa.”
The images are broadcast live on a control screen, allowing the pilot of the drone to focus on driving, while a second person focuses on the analysis of live images.
The company SCS, based in Bussigny and active in smart cities projects, has won the exclusive contract for the distribution of this drone in Switzerland and has already started to offer the system. A quote for twenty devices was recently requested.
For Jean-Yves Barman, CEO of SCS, who is already working for the municipality of Bussigny and EPFL, the potential to ship such high-performance equipment goes beyond reactivity in emergency situations.
“Harvesting data in a way that mobile and analyze them can better locate in the cities heat peaks, available parking spaces, or traffic congestion and provide live information to the citizen. Often when Google map tells you the traffic jams, you’re already in it. ”
Among the proposed equipment are a dangerous gas detector, such as carbon monoxide, and a fine particle to locate more precisely pollution peaks. The camera is used in China with the thermal camera to identify leaks of gas or water on the networks.
Moreover, on the optical camera, the X-zoom 37 allows a rather fine vision like that of long-distance license plates. An increased possibility of monitoring the citizen for the police and the army, which is not, according to Jean-Yves Barman, the commercial project of his company.
“Municipal services operating silo and old habits are a handicap to innovative systems and major projects, including smart city. Even when the interlocutors see the interest and the potential savings, it is not easy to convince them. So we focus on first responders and cities where the need is most urgent,” he says.
Being convincing will be all the more necessary as the equipment remains relatively expensive. Without communicating exactly the amounts, Jean-Yves Barman notes that the drone alone “exceeds 10,000 francs”, not to mention the price of equipment that the customer wants to add. “A thermal camera of the type that equips police cars passes the 10,000 to 15,000 francs to the purchase alone,” says the CEO of SCS.
This article first appeared in French on Bilan.