Mouser Electronics Inc.mouser-first-responders is partnering with Easy Aerial Inc. for their final project of 2016. Project First Responders, the newest series in Mouser’s Empowering Innovation Together program, features a cloud-based drone platform called GlobalARC, used for autonomous search and rescue. Or, in the words of celebrity engineer Grant Imahara, bring on the drone revolution!

Mouser is an award-winning, authorized semiconductor and electronic component distributor, focused on the rapid introduction of new products and technologies to electronic design engineers and buyers. This isn’t the first time they’ve worked with drones; they’ve even paired drone technology with a 3D printed car! But this time they’re dealing with more than one. And it takes a lot of work to design a fleet of connected drones!

mouserThe project will be developed in the Mouser Innovation Lab, with parts from their platinum sponsor TE Connectivity, and featuring products from Intel. Project First Responders wants to find a solution for some of the biggest problems that occur during life-saving search and rescue drone operations, including how to coordinate multiple drones at the same time, from locations all over the world, and share information with experts dispersed at various geographic locations. Mouser partnered with Easy Aerial to develop a Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM)-based solution that is capable of controlling multiple drones, while sharing information in real time, using the existing cellular infrastructure.

“With the Empowering Innovation Together program, Mouser looks to push the boundaries of innovation. This new series goes even further by developing technology that may help save lives,” said Glenn Smith, President and CEO of Mouser Electronics.

The first video in the series highlights the GlobalARC platform, a full-service drone deployment and management system built by Easy Aerial. It has built-in airspace compliance, and live video feed from drones. Drones are outfitted with a GPS system, thermal sensors, a barometer, and several other sensors that capture important information, such as video, heat imaging, chemical detection, and radiation, to help first responders determine when disaster sites are safe to enter. The video also gives some additional details about the opportunities and challenges of drone-based search and rescue.

“Drones, with their agility and small size, seem perfect for search and rescue operations. A helicopter can take hours to send out and can cost thousands of dollars per use,” said Imahara. “Search and rescue teams can launch a drone in just minutes, saving critical time in urgent situations. But we have a lot of work ahead of us to make drones perform at their peak in search and rescue operations.”

drones
Imahara spoke with Ivan Stamatovski, a drone expert working on GlobalARC, about the specific public safety application that Mouser has in mind for Project First Responders: fighting forest fires. In these types of situations, it is important for police and firefighters to be able to work together with their drone networks. Stamatovski notes that the peer to peer communication between the autonomous drones would be extremely helpful in this situation.
“Specifically, you can have different agencies in the field, using different modules. If you think of firefighters as first responders, this would be your zero responder,” explains Stamatovski, adding, “It keeps people out of harm’s way.”
Over the course of the Project First Responders series, and in the next two videos, they will be completing work on the drones, and working with local government agencies for a simulation. Discuss in the Project First Responders forum at 3DPB.com.
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