Mountains are a place of longing but also danger. In emergency situations, time is critical. Mountain rescue services are responsible for responding to emergencies in impassable terrain such as mountains. Topographic circumstances, natural dangers and atmospheric conditions like cold, altitude and weather make mountain rescue a strenuous, difficult and time-consuming task. Air rescue would be the quickest alternative in remote mountain areas. However it is typically expensive, resources are scarce and it relies on sufficient sight, thus bad weather and nightfall can bring an operation to a halt. Due to the complex environment and lacking infrastructure the response time can dramatically increase to several hours or even the following day in case of classic mountain rescue on the ground. People stay exposed to the environmental hazards like natural dangers, altitude and in particular cold for an extended time. Drones have the potential to be of help in various mountain rescue scenarios. They are much cheaper to deploy than a helicopter and do not rely on sight, thus having more versatile use cases.
The concept is a system, attachable to various drone models, to easily connect different payloads that facilitate common mountain rescue operations. The payload developed in this project is a solution for delivery of emergency equipment in mountain environments. Hypothermia and shelter equipment, defibrillators, trauma kits, emergency medicine, oxygen, a radio, flashlight and other useful tools can be supplied swiftly, providing help at an earlier stage. This allows people in need of help to withstand the emergency situation and the environmental conditions until mountain rescuers arrive.
The system consists of an attachment module that is permanently connected to the drone, physically with a frame and electronically with a cable. Different modules can be connected to the attachment module swiftly and easily. The module for delivery of emergency equipment consists of a winch and a bag, that can be filled with content suitable for the respective operation. Apart from the delivery module other payloads could facilitate different scenarios. An avalanche module could be used to find people buried in avalanches, a search module with cameras and a Lifeseeker could be used to find missing people.