Echo SAR turns cell phones into drone-detected rescue beacons
When arriving at a disaster site, one of the most crucial tasks is to locate any survivors who may be trapped in the debris. A new module is designed to let drones do so, by detecting the radio signals of victims' mobile phones.
Designed by Canadian firm Robotics Centre and manufactured by Teledyne FLIR Defense, the Echo SAR (search and rescue) module incorporates the Artemis mobile phone detection system, which is made by British cellular tech company Smith Myers.
Although Artemis is already utilized in crewed aircraft, this is the first version of the technology that can be carried aboard a small drone. In fact, Echo SAR is made specifically for use on Teledyne's R80D SkyRaider and SkyRanger R70 quadcopters.
When one of the drones is being flown over a disaster site, the undercarriage-mounted module is reportedly able to lock onto the signal of any mobile phones in the area – it doesn't matter if there's no cellular network available. Not only do the locations of the phones appear on a map, but it's also possible to communicate with the users of those phones via SMS.
The module itself utilizes the Linux operating system, weighs 1.04 kg (2.29 lb), has 32 GB of internal memory, and can operate in temperatures ranging from -20 to 50 ºC (-4 to 122 ºF).
Along with its use at disaster sites, some of the module's other suggested applications involve searching for individuals who are lost in the wilderness, detecting trespassers at areas such as border crossings, and monitoring the movements of forest-firefighting crews or other ground-based teams.
Source: Robotics Centre