Rega press release, picture © Rega
Today, in cooperation with the Federazione Pompieri Ticino, the Rega drone was tested at the Swiss Drone Base Camp (SDBC) at Lodrino Airport. The goal was to test the accuracy with which the “Fire Detection Pipeline” is able to locate any still active outbreaks, and thus be of help to the emergency services.
The Rega drone, equipped with a special thermal chamber, was first used experimentally last year in Ticino on several major forest fires. On those occasions, the Fire Detection Pipeline had been successfully used to search for any still-burning outbreaks in inaccessible areas, thus facilitating targeted firefighting work by firefighters. Meanwhile, the system has been further optimized.
Precise localization for outbreak detection
Today in Lodrino, between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Swiss Drone Base Camp, the Rega drone flew over an area where two fires had been lit under the watchful supervision of firefighters. Thanks to the thermal camera, the drone operator, stationed at the Rega base in Wilderswil and assisted by an operator and a pilot on the ground in Lodrino, initiated a search, flying over the area established for the test and locating the fires thanks to the sensor’s measurement of ground temperature. In fact, after two or three days, where a fire has occurred, there are no more traces visible to the human eye such as flames or smoke, so it is important to check possible spots where the temperature is higher than normal. During the flight, the system generates a map with precise data and coordinates that are provided to firefighters once the flight is over.
Extending the spectrum of interventions
The Rega drone’s Fire Detection Pipeline is an extension of its intervention spectrum and is based on the “Human Detection Pipeline” used in the search for missing persons. Using an intelligent algorithm, it automatically detects people on the ground and transmits data with coordinates to the operator on the ground. Based on the images received, the drone operator can verify whether it is indeed a person. If necessary, thanks to the data provided and in agreement with Rega’s operations center, he can request the deployment of additional resources, such as a Rega helicopter or mountain rescuers on the ground. The Rega drone is equipped with a mobile phone search system and is able to locate them on behalf of the police. The drone also has an anti-collision system and can automatically adjust its flight path to avoid approaching obstacles.