Land Rover Builds a Special Discovery to Help Save Lives

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“Project Hero” Version of the Land Rover Discovery Features Drone That Can Take Off From and Land on the Vehicle, Even While Moving.

We were lucky enough to attend the media launch of the 2017 Land Rover Discovery. On the asphalt, sand, and rocks of the American West, we learned just how comfortable and capable the reborn SUV is. The new Project Hero version of the Discovery that Land Rover has on display at the Geneva Motor Show is an orange and white example of just how helpful it can be.

Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) created this special Discovery to aid the Austrian Red Cross in efforts to recover victims of disasters and accidents. Land Rover’s relationship with the Red Cross as a whole is nothing new. The two organizations have been working together since 1954. Over the past 60+ years, Land Rover has supplied the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) with 120 vehicles for use in all parts of the world.

Project Hero, on the other hand, is. According to Land Rover, “Project Hero is the first [Land Rover] with a roof-mounted drone. A fully integrated landing system featuring self-centring and magnetic retention technology is a world-first that enables the drone to land on Project Hero when the vehicle is in motion.”

From a safe, bird’s-eye view, that drone can transmit footage – including thermal imaging – of the aftermath of disasters such as earthquakes, mudslides, and avalanches to the Austrian Red Cross’s recovery teams. The safer they are, the easier and quicker it is for them to help the victims of such tragedies.

Other bits of gear on the Project Hero Discovery include a heavy duty sliding floor in the back that can be used as a work surface or as protection for the gear under it, a panel behind the rear seats that Red Cross crew members can mount equipment on, multi-frequency radio equipment, LED lighting for nighttime recoveries, and power outlets that can fit plugs from different parts of the world.

The Austrian Red Cross will use the Project Hero Discovery to respond to natural disasters in multiple locations for 12 months, starting this June. The drone will primarily be used to help develop disaster relief techniques and as part of test-runs of disaster scenarios, such as those that occur at night or in dense forests.

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Derek Shiekhi contributes to a variety of Internet Brands’ Auto sites, including J-K Forum , Jaguar Forums, and 5 Series. He's also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association.

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