Citymesh, headquartered in Belgium, is revolutionizing emergency response with the launch of SENSE, a network of 70 Safety Drones to support police and fire services. This groundbreaking system, the first of its kind in the world, equips emergency centers with Drone-in-a-Box (DiaB) solutions that are deployed within 15 minutes of an emergency call. The drones capture high-definition 4K and thermal images enriched with AI, providing crucial information that enhances the speed and effectiveness of emergency interventions.
What are Safety Drones?
Citymesh's Safety Drones help emergency services respond with greater efficiency, providing them with accurate information about emergency scenes within minutes. The drones autonomously fly from drone docks to the disaster area, capturing images that are transmitted via Citymesh's 5G network to emergency centers and workers. Enriched by AI, the images can detect smoke plumes, fire areas, and even people, providing emergency responders with a comprehensive view of the situation.
How it all started
Each year, emergency centers receive over two million urgent calls, and based on the information provided, they must decide what actions the police or fire brigade should take. This decision is crucial and can determine the success and speed of the intervention. However, incomplete information often hinders their decision-making process.
Following pilot projects in 2018 in Kortrijk (Fluvia), Brussels Airport Company (BAC), and Port of Antwerp Bruges, the first full integration was completed in Genk during the summer of 2022.
Hans Similon, General Manager - Citymesh Safety Drones shares, "Now, four years later, Citymesh is introducing SENSE. By scaling up the number of Safety Drones to 70, we want to create a drone grid across Belgium as a tool for emergency services. Something that does not yet exist anywhere else in the world, crazy right? We are the first Belgium to go from a smart city to a smart country. In each of the 35 emergency zones, two Drones-in-a-Box (DiaB) will be available. We believe very hard in this story at Citymesh, this can really save lives "
SENSE will be deployed across Belgium's 35 emergency zones, with two DiaB units available in each zone. By scaling up the number of Safety Drones to 70, Citymesh aims to create a drone grid across Belgium, enabling emergency services to respond in a more targeted way. Remote Operations Centres equipped with pilots who are available 24/7 conduct the flights and coordinate the drones' activities. A UTM platform ensures the safety of the flights and logs all activity.
From various Remote Operations Centers (ROC), operators are available 24/7 to conduct the flight operations and intervene so that emergency services get the right images at the right time.
Using FlytBase, remote operators from the ROC can manage, monitor, and control the drone and docking station from a remote location. The ROC systems are integrated with the emergency services dispatch systems, so the remote operator has all the relevant information on their screen as soon as a Safety Drone is called upon.
The drone captures live HD-video feed and high-resolution images, which are transmitted in real-time to the ROC, police forces, fire-brigade, and emergency services. This allows them to anticipate risks and select the best equipment needed for a successful rescue mission. The remote operators can also fulfill requests from dispatch and local first response teams to focus the drone's cameras on specific areas of interest. They coordinate with air traffic services to ensure flight safety with respect to other aircraft.
To learn more about how FlytBase is enabling these operations, visit: https://www.flytbase.com/blog/drone-in-a-box-systems-for-bvlos-emergency-first-response
Having been a firefighter for over 20 years, Mitch De Geest, CEO of Citymesh, concludes, "SENSE sits at the intersection of those three fields of knowledge (5G, drones and emergency services). After the pilot project, it is only logical for Citymesh to launch the world's first drone grid to support emergency services.”
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As a Marcom Manager at FlytBase, Baisali oversees the content strategy, creation, and management! With over 7 years of experience in the drone industry and 3 years at FlytBase, she’s a self-proclaimed drone fanatic and is obsessed with all things geographical. When she’s not busy hosting FlytBase’s webinar series or coordinating NestGen, you can find her exploring the Patagonian Desert, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, or the Yellowstone Caldera on Google Earth.