Land Rover has a long-standing relationship with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), with their vehicles serving front-line roles for these organizations in the toughest conditions worldwide. Since 1954, when they supplied a Series I as a mobile dispensary in Dubai, Land Rovers have been on the front lines of the Red Cross and Red Crescent’s global efforts – including over 120 donated vehicles. The Discovery 5 now continues that tradition.
Around the time of the launch of the Discovery 5 in early 2017, Land Rover and the IFRC debuted a specially-modified version of the vehicle dubbed “Project Hero,” designed for backcountry response and hauling a drone in a special container on the roof for use in search-and-rescue operations. This concept vehicle has become reality after an 18-month collaborative development process, and a custom Discovery has entered service with the Red Cross in Austria.
The vehicle is dubbed an “emergency mobile command center,” and the goal of the vehicle is to get a search and rescue crew to an incident, then use the Discovery as the central hub of the incident management operation.
The drone on the roof is far from a gimmick. The eight-rotor drone comes out of a protective shell, and with a thermal imaging camera, it can spot vehicles from 1km/0.6mi away and a person from 440m/1,444ft away. The feed from this camera is transmitted to a touchscreen in the Discovery, and with a few taps the drone can send back coordinates or lock onto and follow a moving target.
The vehicle also features four radio antennae, blue strobe lighting around the vehicle, a satellite phone, WiFi hotspot, Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires, and a command center in the cargo area to manage all the communications systems. The white truck is emblazoned with the iconic Red Cross logo and is powered by the efficient 3.0 liter TD6 diesel engine.
Far from a gimmick, this Discovery perfectly serves the needs of the Austrian Red Cross, especially in the Alps. Drones are now a useful component of search and rescue operations, and the large one in the roof container will allow the team to look for missing persons deep in the mountains where they could not get on foot on time. The capabilities of the Discovery itself extends the range of the drone, by moving the base station (the vehicle) closer to the incident. The role of the Red Cross and Red Crescent has evolved since that dispensary Series I, and Land Rover vehicles continue to be the best international platform to fulfill these new roles.
Check out a video of the new Red Cross Discovery here:
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