2021-04-30

Two Way Radio for Drones Means Rescuers Can Hear a Cry for Help

Source: DroneLife

A two way radio for drones from Dotterel Technologies means that drone operators could actually have a two-way conversation with people on the ground.

The sophisticated audio payload allows for communications despite the sound of the drone itself. The applications for a two way radio for drones are tremendous, but Dotterel has started out with one of the most compelling: search and rescue.

Drones have become a critical tool for search and rescue operations, because they can cover a large area quickly. Operators seek missing persons through cell phone signals, thermal imaging, and visual imaging, but until now they haven’t been able to locate a missing person by one of the most obvious methods: a cry for help.

Shaun Edlin, CEO of Dotterel, and his team demonstrated the application to a multi-agency search and rescue exercise in the Hunua Ranges, Auckland, New Zealand. “Dotterel has found a way to put its unique, highly directional microphone array and processor on drones so that it can capture audio while rejecting drone propellor noise and other loud environmental noise,” explains a company press release.

“The audio system is two way so that the rescuers can not only hear the missing people call for help but also ask questions about injuries, other people and their location and advise of rescue actions,” Edlin says.

“Drones are used frequently in public safety situations around the world, like search and rescue and for improving situational awareness. We are being approached by many public safety groups globally as word spreads about our unique audio capability. Of particular interest is using drones as remote communication tools in Search and Rescue, and to help deescalate situations in long range negotiations while keeping operational teams safe.”

Auckland search and rescue (SAR) leader Brandon McCarthy says the audio addition to drones will make them an even more valuable tool in the SAR kit.