UK, tests complete: tethered drones to aid rescuers for full view of scenarios

Tethered drones up to 45 metres that rescuers will send to the intervention scenario, giving them a complete picture and enabling them to make more informed decisions about priorities

The trial, which is to be considered completed, was conducted at Millbrook Proving Ground, helping to develop a greater understanding of how 5G connectivity can be used to help emergency services at trauma scenes and in remote or hard-to-reach locations.

Making it happen is Virgin Media O2 with Fotokite, a Swiss company that has been developing wired drones since 2014.

The tethered Fotokite Sigma system was successfully tested to receive 5G network connectivity from its base station on the ground, to transfer real-time data to first responders at the location and local hospital teams via a smart tablet.

Tethered drones can help save lives and ensure the safety of rescuers

Chris McCall, CEO at Fotokite said: “Safety-critical data sharing in public safety applications can make real impact when information is distributed quickly and reliably. Incident commanders and decision makers have new capabilities when it comes to 5G-enabled technologies like the Fotokite Sigma, and we are excited to work with O2 in a joint mission to help those public safety teams save lives and stay safe.”


Tethered drones makes flight less complex and easier to manage

Martin Hunt, Medical Rescue Coordinator for the British Automobile Racing Club & 5G Technology Programme Manager at Virgin Media O2, said: “The use of drones for emergency responders is an increasingly valuable tool, as the rising number of applications and lower flying complexity make it quick and easy to manage.

The Fotokite drone has both thermal imaging and RGB video camera capabilities, as well as the ability to fly for extended times in all weather conditions, providing crucial situational information and data for emergency teams.

Being able to stream live feeds via a 5G network from the operational ‘hot zone’ of a major incident back to offsite strategic teams enables instant feedback and decision-making that could save lives.

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