It's been a year and a half since the Red Cross and Land Rover teamed up on Project Hero, an emergency vehicle concept car that kitted out a Land Rover Discovery with a deployable drone for search-and-rescue operations. Now the concept has moved into the real world, with the custom Discovery entering active service with the Red Cross in Austria.

This "emergency mobile command center" starts with a 258 PS 3-liter TD6 Land Rover Discovery, which should help response teams get where they need to be in a hurry. Once it arrives at the scene of an emergency, a drone can be launched to search for people, while the back of the Land Rover folds out into a Command Center, complete with a touchscreen computer and communications gear.

The extra 18 months of progress means Land Rover has been able to go into more specific details. The vehicle sports high-intensity spot lights in the front bumper and roof rack, as well as 360-degree emergency blue lights. Four radio antennas, two mobile Wi-Fi hotspots and a satellite phone keep the crew connected.

But the star of the show is the eight-rotor drone that can be launched from the roof rack. Fitted with thermal imaging, this eye in the sky can spot a vehicle from almost 1 km (0.6 mi) away, and a person from about 440 m (1,444 ft). A live video feed is transmitted back to the Discovery, and users can tap on the touchscreen to get precise coordinates for that location. Tapping on a moving subject will direct the drone to lock onto it.

The bespoke Discovery is expected to help Austrian Red Cross crews in all kinds of emergency situations, from locating lost or injured people in the wilderness, to seeking survivors of disasters. The vehicle will be on display at the Paris Motor Show this week.

The Red Cross team puts the Discovery through the paces in a field test, in the video below.

Source: Land Rover

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