From cutting-edge tools transforming medical care to emerging public safety solutions, augmented reality (AR) is enabling significant strides in industry and society. Adam Kaplan, CEO and Co-Founder of Edgybees, discusses the advantages of implementing AR technology in SAR missions
Nowhere is AR’s game-changing potential more evident than in SAR and military scenarios. Drones equipped with AR software, for instance, play crucial roles in generating deeper situational awareness and actionable information for first responders and platoon members in SAR scenarios. Drones not only offer perspectives unavailable to the naked human eye, but can actually save lives – especially when they’re outfitted with state-of-the-art software.
Envision an AR-equipped drone that feeds video to control rooms in real-time, complete with overlaid geospatial information on the locations and statuses of key personnel and infrastructure during critical missions. This isn’t a scenario from sci-fi or the distant future: thanks to rapidly advancing AR technology, it’s increasingly a reality of modern public safety operations, and it’s allowing for more effective collaboration and communication among first responders and military personnel in even the most complex SAR scenarios.
Ensuring a successful outcome
What can AR-equipped drones achieve when deployed in SAR operations? First, they deliver rapid and accurate actionable insights that enable first responders and military personnel to better and more efficiently understand their surroundings. Rather than having to cross-reference maps and piece together information from siloed sources, these drones provide all vital information – even that which isn’t necessarily visible to the human eye – in one place. In high-risk scenarios – be they forest fires or military rescue operations – the geographic and situational data these drones generate can not only help accelerate operations, but also prevent decisions that could lead to further tragedy. Take military reconnaissance missions: in these cases, AR can pinpoint key population centres and identify civilians, enabling militaries to avoid unnecessary casualties.
Drones with AR are also being used to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid in remote areas and disaster zones, where it’s crucial for responders to have as much information as possible about the local terrain, the state of infrastructure, and the damage to business and population centres. In these difficult-to-navigate environments, AR can mean the difference between a successful and a failed mission. Notably, the same technology can also be harnessed by other aircrafts to ensure accurate deployment of military personnel and first responders.
Utilising AR drones, officials can monitor any situation and track vital metrics – a crucial capability in often fast-changing emergency SAR scenarios. With control-room dispatchers able to keep their eyes on their people at all times, thanks to features like AR-projected geospatial information, the technology helps keep personnel from ever being in the dark.
The bigger picture
At the heart of any efficient and successful SAR operation is full situational awareness. From tracking beacons used to find those trapped in the aftermath of avalanches, to drones like those deployed during the 2018 California wildfires, to military use cases, technology carries life-saving potential that simply cannot be ignored. Given the spectrum of public safety challenges confronting police and fire departments domestically and militaries abroad, technology like AR will soon become a must-have for public safety organisations as they seek to generate detailed views of their environments and safely accomplish their missions while mitigating damage to life, property, and infrastructure. With the SAR equipment market projected to reach US$125.66 billion by 2022, the coming period is set to witness a drastic spike of innovation – and the payoff will be more lives saved.