Lockheed Martin says that sheriff’s agencies are poised to use its Indago quadrotor small unmanned aerial system (UAS) to perform search-and-rescue operations as part of the Project Lifesaver International (PLI) program, which supports clients with autism, Down syndrome and dementia.
Indago is paired with PLI’s electronic location equipment used by first responders to find special needs individuals who may wander. Upon receiving a distress call, operators can rapidly deploy Indago to locate missing individuals.
According to Lockheed Martin, Somerset County, N.J., is the first sheriff’s office in the country to use the PLI Indago UAS. Deputies participated in training on the system earlier this year. Somerset County has 40 clients enrolled in PLI: 23 children who have autism or Down syndrome and 17 adults who have dementia.
Sheriff’s offices in New Jersey and Virginia have added the PLI Indago to their inventories, with additional first response agencies soon to join the ranks.
“The Indago UAS will allow us to increase our capabilities in locating a client who has wandered. This new asset will give us the ability to search even more efficiently over a broader area and will increase the probability of a successful recovery,” says Somerset County Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano.
“The Indago will give Project Lifesaver agency members the ability to have an airborne asset available quickly to enhance their search capability in bringing loved ones home,” comments Gene Saunders, founder and CEO of PLI.
According to Lockheed, Indago reduces response time and increases the efficiency of search efforts when time is critical. The five-pound, collapsible Indago system can be stored in the trunk of any squad car and deployed within a matter of minutes.
“Coupling the Project Lifesaver antenna and control elements with the Indago system expands signal detectability, serves as an airborne relay, and greatly improves the probability of location success across broad search areas,” says Rich Bonnett, Indago program manager for Lockheed Martin unmanned systems. “This innovative technology is available for Project Lifesaver agents to further their important public safety mission and, more importantly, to reunite individuals with their families and caretakers.”
Indago is used in tasks spanning firefighting, disaster relief, precision agriculture and coastal erosion monitoring. The system has a flight time surpassing 45 minutes and provides high-quality data with an electro-optic infrared gimbaled imager to enhance situational awareness and enable real-time decision-making.