Mouser Electronics Inc. is working with Easy Aerial Inc. and celebrity engineer Grant Imahara to create a cloud-based drone platform that will allow first responders to get information from the air for better search and rescue.
The platform is called GlobalARC and is part of Mouser’s Project First Responders. The program was developed to answer questions facing search and rescue teams regarding drone usage, such as coordinating multiple drones at once, from anywhere in the world, and sharing that information across various geographic locations.
The drone project will be developed in the Mouser Innovation Lab with parts from its sponsor, TE Connectivity, and drones supplied by Easy Aerial. The GlobalARC platform will outfit drones with a full range of sensors that capture information such as video, heat imaging, chemical detection and radiation.
Mouser says the key to using drones in the field, specifically in the event of a natural disaster or large forest fire, is coordinating them with police, firefighters and rescue operations simultaneously. The idea for the network of search and rescue drones would be to offer a platform that would allow different agencies to use different modules—all for the same purpose and all controlled via cloud computing.
The drones that Mouser is working with use infrared cameras in order to identify people on the ground and high-resolution cameras in order to pinpoint places where first responders need to go. Also in the event of responders needing information about dangerous situations, the drones can be used instead of putting people in harm’s way.
“Drones, with their agility and small size, seem perfect for search and rescue operations. A helicopter can take hours to send out and can cost thousands of dollars per use,” Imahara says. “Search and rescue teams can launch a drone in just minutes, saving critical time in urgent situations. But we have a lot work ahead of us to make drones perform at their peak in search and rescue operations.”