AR drone technology used to help after Hurricane Harvey Disaster

15th September 2017
Anna Flockett

An augmented reality technology company, Edgybees has been providing augmented reality (AR) software for the drones being used by first responders in the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Drones are already providing a valuable asset for first responders in speeding up the search for survivors. However, the emergency relief efforts are hindered by poor visibility and mapping technology.

Powered by advanced algorithms, Edgybees’ engine utilises information gathered from real-world sensors and other devices such as cameras, GPS, IMU (inertial measurement unit) and altitude meters to create reliable and credible reconstruction of the device’s motion in 3D.

Together with cloud-based sources, the engine provides lighting that corresponds to the scene alongside representation of obstacles and other objects. The video generated by the application engine is time-synced and applied over the actual video transmitted from the device, allowing rapid development of real-time applications.

Edgybees augmented overlays are providing drone pilots vital information such as street names, house numbers and the locations of distress signals, enabling first responders to take the optimum routes through the destruction and debris. It is expected that this technology will also be utilised in Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

Adam Kaplan, CEO and co-founder of Edgeebees, said: “We are very proud of our hard work with first responders on the front line, in adapting our existing augmented reality software developed for games and industry to create a truly effective solution. Our ability to utilise real-world and real-time information is proving invaluable to first responders. We hope to continue to improve our work and assist the search and rescue efforts for victims of Hurricane Irma.” 

Houston is providing a number of ‘lessons learned’ for search and rescue technologies and drones are proving their worth, which is sure to benefit first responders in Florida and elsewhere.

Due to Edgybees’ technology, drones can now be used to map and record infrastructure, roads, powerlines, levees, prior to any disaster, in a similar fashion to their current use in urban planning and construction. These maps are then used by first responders to orientate quickly and massively increase response times.

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