Saving lives: Virgin Media O2 helps search and rescue team with connected drone
Virgin Media O2 is working with the Warwickshire Search and Rescue team on a pioneering project that is set to save lives.
The operator has developed a 5G-connected drone to help search and rescue teams to establish reliable communication in the most remote areas, helping them to protect lives. The Warwickshire Search and Rescue team is the first to trial the new technology.
Steve Brown, Trustee and Search Technician at Warwickshire Search and Rescue said: “Our team is made up of volunteers and there is only so much resource available to us. With more and more callouts each year, this drone with mobile connectivity is a powerful tool for our team to understand and assess a situation immediately, saving crucial time in life-threatening situations. It means we will always be connected, ensuring seamless communication and efficient coordination throughout our missions. As a result of this, we will connect the unreachable, save lives, and inspire a new era of technological possibilities.”
In rural areas – such as parts of Warwickshire – emergency services and rescue teams often struggle to establish reliable communication as the most remote areas are often not served by traditional mobile networks. This makes it extremely difficult for rescue teams and the police to stay connected during time-critical rescue missions.
Virgin Media O2’s 5G Technical Trials team developed a solution that provides reliable 5G mobile connectivity to rescue teams using a network of low Earth orbit satellites, which is small enough to be flown on a drone. The drone can be rapidly deployed in remote areas by the search and rescue team, and it acts as an airborne mobile phone mast, providing those on the ground with 5G mobile connectivity wherever their mission takes them. This means that the rescue team can access essential information, communicate with each other, assess situations at speed, and easily locate and save those in danger.
David Owens, Head of Technical Trials at Virgin Media O2 said: “This project is a further example of how fresh-thinking and 5G technologies can be combined to provide real societal benefits. The solution has the potential to transform how search and rescue teams operate and respond to life-threatening situations, enabling them to make faster and more decisive decisions. We’re enormously proud that our connectivity will be able to help these teams to save lives.”
Visit Virgin Media O2 to learn more.