An Irish start-up that develops unique software for emergency response teams involved in search and rescue operations has become the first client of the European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre (ESA BIC) led by Tyndall National Institute. DroneSAR qualifies for €50,000 seed funding and support over two years as part of the ESA Space Solutions Centre which helps Irish start-ups use space technology to solve challenges on earth.
DroneSAR software allows autonomous search flight patterns for drones and can live stream “first person view” (FPV) high resolution images and video back to incident control. Victim location and GPS co-ordinates are instantaneously shared with the ground search and rescue teams via SMS or email. This helps response teams make informed, immediate and vital decisions.
This results in reduced search time, reduced risk to responding personnel and reduced costs. The technology will be influential in the global use of drone technology for Emergency Management, response and damage mitigation.
David Gibbons, Manager of ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland welcomed DroneSAR into ESABIC saying: “DroneSAR is using space technology and data to save lives. The ESA BIC programme will provide the ‘lift-off’ for DroneSAR to become a major player in search and rescue operations throughout the world.”
Former NASA Space Engineer and current Director of Education at the world’s largest drone manufacturer, DJI, Romeo Durscher added: “When we at DJI started to discuss a partnership with EENA, the European Emergency Number Association, we wanted to learn how drones could effectively help first responders. Less than two years later we have seen the development of a Search and Rescue app by DroneSAR running on our DJI drones. This app is helping rescue teams with aerial live video streams and important information. The next step will be integrating satellite data through the European Space Agency to share drone location data and images with first responders and their command centres, often many kilometres away.”
Ralph James, Director of Safety Regulation at the Irish Aviation Authority commented: “A significant amount of research is taking place all over the world to design systems which will enable drones to safely integrate with manned aviation. Applications such as the DroneSAR app will help pave the way for a smooth and safe integration process. Whatever procedures are introduced in the future must guarantee the safety of manned aviation and the safety of people on the ground.”
The ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland, which incorporates ESA BIC, is the first of its kind in Europe. It is led by Tyndall National Institute in Cork in partnership with Athlone Institute of Technology and Maynooth University. Funded by the European Space Agency and Enterprise Ireland, it aims to support the application of technologies developed for space to solve challenges on Earth and beyond. The centre is one of sixteen ESA BICs in Europe, which work to inspire entrepreneurs to turn space-connected business ideas into commercial companies.
For further information on ESA Space Solutions visit www.esaspacesolutions.ie