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The second phase of the Safety Drone project

27/02/2020

After a successful first phase, the Safety Drone project will enter its second phase in the first half of 2020. During this phase, Citymesh will collaborate with several rescue zones and scale-up the project gradually. In addition, Citymesh will also open up the project to police forces.

What is a Safety Drone?

The Safety Drone is a new and more efficient way for emergency services such as the police and fire department to gain an accurate overview of an incident. As soon as the emergency centre receives a call, a Safety Drone can be deployed. This drone automatically calculates the fastest route to the incident based on the GPS coordinates of the incident location and the weather conditions. The HD and thermal cameras on-board immediately stream live video feeds to dispatch and the emergency services on-route to the incident.

Using this technology, emergency services can calculate risks accurately. Victims at an emergency can receive the right treatment significantly faster. The safety of the team at the scene improves as well because they can anticipate certain risks.

“An image says more than a thousand words,” says Olivier Dorme, captain of rescue zone FLUVIA, “With the images of the Safety Drone, we can anticipate certain risks before we even arrive at the scene. Every emergency situation is unique and details really make a difference.”

The drone can be used for a variety of missions: fires, tracing a missing person, floods and serious traffic accidents. During the FireForum Awards of 2019, the project was awarded a FireForum Award in the category “fire fighting and fire interventions”.

Multidisciplinarity and scaling up the project

During the first phase, Citymesh worked closely together with rescue zone FLUVIA. The primary focus of this phase was the reliability and usability of the Safety Drones in an emergency service environment. We looked at how the fire brigade communicates today and how the Safety Drone could be an added value in the existing system. Citymesh integrated with the dispatch software to send the coordinates of the incident location to the drone and to provide the first responders access to the live HD footage. To do this, we developed Dronehub and optimized the hardware specifically for use during emergencies. On the basis of several practical tests, procedures were developed to further integrate the Safety Drone in the working procedures of the emergency services.

The Safety Drone project now enters its second phase. During this phase, the project expands in several ways. First of all, Citymesh will collaborate with multiple rescue zones next to the FLUVIA rescue zone. Every collaborating zone will gain access to a Safety Drone with piloting service. Secondly, Citymesh will also open up the project to police forces. By taking a multidisciplinary angle we will explore all possible uses of the Safety Drone. The extensive testing of the developed software and hardware will continue during this phase. The drones will undergo various types of tests including test flights, common practice interventions and real interventions.

“At the end of phase two we will be ready to operate multiple drones at the same time, all over Belgium. The project will be scaled up to tens of drones and locations”, says Jon Verbeke, drone pilot at Citymesh.

The second phase of this project was officially announced during two inspiration days in Kortrijk and Mons.

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