Mantaro, Beeper Receive Funding for Drone Search Systems
Monday, October 02, 2017 | Comments

Mantaro Networks and Beeper Communications Israel received funding from the Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation, to support development of unmanned search and rescue systems (USRS.) Project USRS was awarded $900,000 in funding during 18 months.

The joint project aims to fill in capability gaps for first responders supported by the National Technology Plan for Emergency Response to Catastrophic Incidents.

“In an age where man-made and natural disasters have become global phenomena, it is important to integrate the various responders and their agencies, to minimize casualties and damage to infrastructure and private property,” said Moshe Levinson, senior vice president, Beeper Communications. “We are very glad that BIRD is investing in our development efforts to support first responders and provide the next generation of technology to these men and women.”

A significant development of USRS will be the ability of autonomous operation of robotic unmanned devices and their cooperative action with first responders, supported by broadband and resilient communication network. The project proposes new methods and algorithms for distributed-decentralized command and control of first responder teams and autonomous robots. The effective operation of autonomous robots will be enabled by communications infrastructure set up by Beeper.

The successful completion of the project will produce wireless broadband infrastructure — the means to transfer large amounts of data using a full spectrum of communications frequencies and optimization algorithms. This high-bandwidth connectivity will enable exchange of media-rich information with first responder teams and autonomous robots for remote monitoring of incident landscape in real time and first responder progress status.

Technically USRS will create the most effective and detailed common operational picture (COP) for the responding agencies. The data from the field will be accessible and shared among varied agencies and eliminate interoperability challenges that exist.

As of September, the companies had already achieved an important milestone. The Mantaro UGV is now fully functional and operable using the Beeper cellular bonder as the only means of network communications. This is significant as the UGV can now be controlled and operated without the usual line-of-site requirements. In other words, the system can be operated and monitored from anywhere.

“This is a real differentiator and advantage when thinking about the safety of a UGV operator,” said Jeremy Parsons, CEO Mantaro. “We have now proven an ability to use the bonder to send and receive rich, high-bandwidth data to and from the UGV. This not only provides real time operational views and information from the field to the command center but also allows operation of the UGV from anywhere, further removing first responder personnel from harms way during uncertain and challenging situations. It was one of the primary initial goals of the project and we have validated this function quickly.”

The companies also entered into a commercial agreement with Safety Dynamics, specializing in gunshot detection, camera and acoustic surveillance. USRS will work to incorporate this patented technology into the UGV platform for security and enhanced COP for the system.

The NextGen First Responders program was established by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Israel Ministry of Public Security to advance innovative technologies for first responders through U.S.-Israel collaborations.

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