To augment humanitarian search-and-rescue efforts, Lockheed Martin is teaming with Project Lifesaver International (PLI) and Loen Engineering Inc. to bring unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to first-response agencies.
The Indago small UAS will be integrated with a lightweight antenna and receiver developed by Loen Engineering. The system allows PLI agencies and first responders to rapidly locate special-needs individuals who have wandered from their homes.
PLI is a nonprofit organization that provides first responders and caregivers with equipment and training to quickly locate and rescue individuals who have cognitive disorders and are prone to wandering. To date, Project Lifesaver agencies have conducted over 2,965 successful rescues.
Canada-based Loen Engineering designs and manufactures radio-frequency products and provides engineering design and solutions to clients throughout North America.
“Using the Project Lifesaver location device with aviation assets will extend search areas from approximately one-and-a-half miles to well over seven miles,” says Gene Saunders, CEO and founder of PLI.
The five-pound, collapsible Indago system can be stored in the trunk of any squad car and deployed within a matter of minutes, says Lockheed Martin. 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.
According to Lockheed Martin, the Indago’s flight time of 45 minutes and electro-optic infrared gimbaled imager provide high-quality data and enhanced situational awareness for operators to make real-time decisions.
“This partnership opens the aperture for unmanned systems to be used in critical search-and-rescue situations that aid public-safety agencies with the important humanitarian mission targeting high-risk individuals,” adds Dave Pringle, general manager of Lockheed Martin Procerus Technologies. “Indago’s ability to provide an eye-in-the-sky in just minutes enables first responders to increase their effectiveness in locating wandering persons and reuniting them with their families.”