Bespoke vehicles are usually made to be expensive and luxurious – functionality is rarely their main concern. However, a new ‘Project Hero’ from Land Rover is meant to help the Austrian Red Cross saving lives. It is based on a normal Discovery, but features world-first magnetic retention and self-centring drone technology.
We have already seen some prototypes of cars with landing spaces on their roofs for drones. But Project Hero is a little different. This creation of Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations will actually be tested by the Austrian Red Cross to see, if such vehicle could improve their response to emergency situations and maybe could even allow them to save more lives. Land Rover and Red Cross has a long relationship. Automotive company has been supplying cars for the organization since 1954, but Project Hero is probably the coolest of them all.
Because of the self-centring and magnetic retention technology in the landing base, drone can land on the car while it is in motion. So it will effectively increase the reach of rescue teams after some natural disasters happen. While people will stay in a safe distance from the disaster zone, drone will monitor situation and check whether it is ok for people to come forward. It will also help finding the best route. Of course, Land Rover Discovery also is a very important part of this formula, because of its impressive off road ability. This one specifically is powered by 3.0-litre TD6 engine and has a bunch of other features.
Drone on the roof is interesting, but does not convert a normal SUV into a special rescue vehicle. Project Hero has hard sliding floor in the rear load space, a segregation panel for additional equipment mounting points, LED lighting to aid night vision and new power supply points which accept multiple plug arrangements from different regions. There is also some innovative communication technology, which will help coordinating rescue efforts.
Project Hero will be tested in some simulations to develop new techniques for using a drone in such a unique system. Specialists will see how it behaves in searching operations at night or in dense forests. Finally, it will be used in real operations at times of natural disasters, such as heavy snow or floods, or accidents.