A radio for drones from Dotterel Technologies means that drone operators can actually have a two-way conversation with local people.
The sophisticated audio payload enables communication despite the noise of the drone. The uses for a drone radio are enormous, but Dotterel started off with one of the most compelling: search and rescue.
Drones have become an important tool for search and rescue operations because they can cover a large area quickly. Operators search for missing people using cell phone signals, thermal images and visual images, but so far they have not been able to locate a missing person using one of the most obvious methods: a call for help.
Shaun Edlin, CEO of Dotterel, and his team demonstrated the application for a multi-agency search and rescue drill in the Hunua Ranges, Auckland, New Zealand. “Dotterel found a way to put their unique, highly directional microphone array and processor on drones so that audio can be recorded while rejecting drone propeller and other loud ambient noises,” said a company press release.
“The audio system is bidirectional, so rescuers can not only hear the missing people calling for help, but also ask questions about injuries, other people and their location, and advise on rescue measures,” says Edlin.
“Drones are widely used in public safety situations around the world, such as search and rescue and to improve situational awareness. We are approached by many public safety groups around the world as word of our unique audio feature has gotten around. Of particular interest is the use of drones as a means of remote communication in Search and Rescue and to de-escalate situations in remote negotiations while at the same time ensuring the security of the emergency teams. “
Brandon McCarthy, Auckland (SAR) head of search and rescue, says adding audio to drones will make them an even more valuable tool in the SAR kit.
“It wasn’t hard to see from Dotterel’s demonstration that the audio function can be used to quickly gather vital information from missing people or to record their voices as they fly over locations. This is important because many missing people are found by rescue workers who pay attention to speech attractiveness in hard-to-reach places, and the ability to quickly expand our hearing range is of great value. “
Edlin said the Aerial Audio solution will help save lives and reduce risk for both civilians and public service operational teams. However, this also applies to commercial and military applications. Whether it’s briefing groups of field workers on industrial missions, communicating with the military, or working in public safety applications, drone radios could prove to be an important new payload for many industries in the industry.
Miriam McNabb is editor-in-chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a marketplace for professional drone services, and a fascinating observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Author of over 3,000 articles focusing on the commercial drone space, Miriam is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam graduated from the University of Chicago and has over 20 years experience in high-tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For advice or writing in the drone industry, email Miriam.
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