Drone-equipped Land Rover Discovery Project Hero is Austrian Red Cross’ search and rescue champion

Article by Christian A., on March 13, 2017

Saving lives is a very serious matter and there are many obstacles in the way. One of the primary frustrations is not being able to properly locate people who need to be rescued – ahead of time or on the site. The main reason for this is the lack of a proper view of the situation. After all, this is search and rescue, in which saving lives hinges on whether those who need to be rescued are found.

This newest and unique version of the Land Rover Discovery should help counter that frustration. Dubbed as the Land Rover Discovery Project Hero, this bespoke vehicle features a drone fitted with a camera, thereby allowing rescuers to view the surroundings their naked eyes couldn’t reach. Especially created by Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) for the Austrian Red Cross, the Land Rover Discovery Project Hero is now being showcased at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show.

As it is, the Land Rover Discovery is already a capable SUV that is powerful and versatile enough to move people and equipment both on the streets and off the road. It should prove to be a great mobile unit for Red Cross emergency response teams who may need to go off the road to conduct search and rescue operations during landslides, floods, earthquakes and avalanches. But as a Project Hero -- based on the 3.0-liter TD6 version of the new Land Rover Discovery – it does more.

Specifically, the Project Hero’s drone significantly improves the SUV’s capability by several times. A member of the emergency response teams could serve as operator to plot the waypoints of the drone, which then takes flight according to the plan. Thanks to the installed camera, the drone could send live footage of what it sees to the system fitted inside the Project Hero. This way, the rescue team could safely investigate a certain area and find survivors using a bird’s-eye view. Moreover, the drone could be operated even while the Project Hero is on the move.

When not deployed, the drone rests on the roof, in particular on an integrated landing system that features world’s first magnetic retention and self-centering drone technology. Likewise, the drone could land on the roof even while the Project Hero is moving.

For greater versatility, the Project Hero comes with a heavy-duty sliding floor in the rear load space, which could be used to serve as a work surface. Additional equipment mounting points are also found on the segregation panel behind the rear seats. Project Hero also comes with power supply points. Apparently, night vision as well as communication isn’t a problem with Project Hero as it is equipped with strategically positioned LED lighting and multiple frequency radio equipment.

Press Release

PROJECT HERO: NEW LAND ROVER DISCOVERY FEATURING WORLD-FIRST DRONE TECHNOLOGY CREATED TO HELP RED CROSS SAVE LIVES

7 March 2017 Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) has designed and engineered a bespoke version of the new Land Rover Discovery for use by the Austrian Red Cross. ‘Project Hero’ was presented to the world’s media for the first time today at the Geneva Motor Show.

Project Hero is an advanced communication vehicle, created to support Jaguar Land Rover’s partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the world’s largest humanitarian network. SVO collaborated with the Austrian Red Cross to develop a unique Land Rover that will be trialled by their emergency response teams. It is hoped it will help the Red Cross save lives by speeding up response times to disasters.

Land Rover has supported the Red Cross since 1954 and supplied120 vehicles to the IFRC for deployment in all corners of the globe. Project Hero is the first with a roof-mounted drone. A fully integrated landing system featuring self-centring and magnetic retention technology is a world-first that enables the drone to land on Project Hero when the vehicle is in motion.

The drone enhances new Discovery’s already outstanding capability. With the drone airborne, live footage can be transmitted to the Red Cross’s emergency response teams, helping them respond more quickly and effectively to landslides, earthquakes, floods and avalanches. Dramatic landscape changes can make maps redundant, which adds to the danger and difficulty of finding and rescuing survivors, so the drone’s bird’s-eye view will allow rescuers to investigate an emergency scene from a safe distance.

Land Rover and the team of engineers and designers at SVO are proud to support the incredible humanitarian work of the IFRC and its members. The new Discovery is an outstanding all-terrain SUV, and Project Hero is the optimum combination of enhanced capability and innovative technology. We hope to help the Red Cross save lives in emergency situations.

JOHN EDWARDS, JAGUAR LAND ROVER SPECIAL OPERATIONS MANAGING DIRECTOR

We are grateful to Land Rover for their generous support over the past 60 years, and are proud of our ambitious global partnership that has transformed the lives of millions of people on four continents. The partnership is supporting communities around the world to become more resilient in the face of natural disasters such as monsoons, flooding and earthquakes. Project Hero combines the best expertise of the Red Cross and Jaguar Land Rover to create a truly unique vehicle, which we hope will be capable of making a difference to rescue operations in the toughest environments.

DR JEMILAH MAHMOOD, IFRC UNDER SECRETARY GENERAL FOR PARTNERSHIPS

Project Hero is based on the 3.0-litre TD6 engine-powered version of the new Land Rover Discovery. In addition to the unique drone technology supplied in Project Hero, the rear of the interior in this special vehicle also features:

Heavy-duty sliding floor in the rear load space, which may be deployed as an addition work surface, or to protect the load carried underneath
Segregation panel behind the rear seats providing additional equipment mounting points
Strategically positioned LED lighting to aid night vision
Innovative power supply points which accept multiple plug arrangements from different regions
Project Hero is also equipped with multiple frequency radio equipment enabling contact to be made in a variety of situations.

Project Hero will be based at the Austrian Red Cross training centre in Erzberg, in the mountainous Eisenerz mining area, and in Vienna, for 12 months from June 2017.The drone will be used in simulations to develop new and innovative techniques for disaster relief and on test-runs for complex natural disaster scenarios, including at night and in dense forests. Project Hero will also be used when the Red Cross provides emergency support at times of natural disasters, such as heavy snow or floods, or accidents.

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