Land Rover Discovery Project Hero Created for Red Cross

Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) has designed and engineered a bespoke version of the new Land Rover Discovery for use by the Austrian Red Cross. Project Hero was presented to the world’s media for the first time today at the Geneva Motor Show.

Land Rover Discovery Project Hero

Project Hero is an advanced communication vehicle, created to support Jaguar Land Rover’s partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the world’s largest humanitarian network. SVO collaborated with the Austrian Red Cross to develop a unique Land Rover that will be trialled by their emergency response teams. It is hoped it will help the Red Cross save lives by speeding up response times to disasters. 

Land Rover has supported the Red Cross since 1954 and supplied120 vehicles to the IFRC for deployment in all corners of the globe. Project Hero is the first with a roof-mounted drone. A fully integrated landing system featuring self-centring and magnetic retention technology is a world-first that enables the drone to land on Project Hero when the vehicle is in motion.

The drone enhances new Discovery’s already outstanding capability. With the drone airborne, live footage can be transmitted to the Red Cross’s emergency response teams, helping them respond more quickly and effectively to landslides, earthquakes, floods and avalanches. Dramatic landscape changes can make maps redundant, which adds to the danger and difficulty of finding and rescuing survivors, so the drone’s bird’s-eye view will allow rescuers to investigate an emergency scene from a safe distance.

John Edwards, Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations Managing Director, said:

Land Rover and the team of engineers and designers at SVO are proud to support the incredible humanitarian work of the IFRC and its members.

The new Discovery is an outstanding all-terrain SUV, and Project Hero is the optimum combination of enhanced capability and innovative technology. We hope to help the Red Cross save lives in emergency situations.

Dr Jemilah Mahmood, IFRC Under Secretary General for Partnerships, said:

We are grateful to Land Rover for their generous support over the past 60 years, and are proud of our ambitious global partnership that has transformed the lives of millions of people on four continents.

The partnership is supporting communities around the world to become more resilient in the face of natural disasters such as monsoons, flooding and earthquakes.

Project Hero combines the best expertise of the Red Cross and Jaguar Land Rover to create a truly unique vehicle, which we hope will be capable of making a difference to rescue operations in the toughest environments.

Project Hero is based on the 3.0-litre TD6 engine-powered version of the new Land Rover Discovery. In addition to the unique drone technology supplied in Project Hero, the rear of the interior in this special vehicle also features:

  • Heavy-duty sliding floor in the rear load space, which may be deployed as an addition work surface, or to protect the load carried underneath
  • Segregation panel behind the rear seats providing additional equipment mounting points
  • Strategically positioned LED lighting to aid night vision
  • Innovative power supply points which accept multiple plug arrangements from different regions

Project Hero is also equipped with multiple frequency radio equipment enabling contact to be made in a variety of situations.

Project Hero will be based at the Austrian Red Cross training center in Erzberg, in the mountainous Eisenerz mining area, and in Vienna, for 12 months from June 2017.The drone will be used in simulations to develop new and innovative techniques for disaster relief and on test-runs for complex natural disaster scenarios, including at night and in dense forests. Project Hero will also be used when the Red Cross provides emergency support at times of natural disasters, such as heavy snow or floods, or accidents.

Project Hero History and Technical Details

The relationship between Land Rover and the British Red Cross started in 1954, and has evolved into a global partnership. Land Rover currently supports 18 humanitarian projects in 25 countries.

Project Hero

The Project Hero drone can be controlled from the safety of the vehicle using a tablet app that allows the occupants to assess the surrounding environment as they drive.

The technical flexibility of Project Hero allows the Austrian Red Cross to host specialist communication equipment in the vehicle, so the team can co-ordinate the next steps live on the scene as efficiently as possible, regardless of the challenges presented by the terrain and environment.

Working closely with the Red Cross, SVO engineers and designers used their extensive experience to push the boundaries of ergonomic design with clever storage, including external access through innovative side hatches and a pull-out floor. Further storage can be reconfigured internally during transit without the occupants leaving the vehicle and compromising their safety.

Technical highlights:

Base unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) technical specifications:

UASpPlatform                                 Taiwanese Align M480L UAV*
Empty weight                                   2,700g
Max take-off weight                     7,200g
Payload capacity                              5,500g (inc. battery/sensors)
Transmit and receive range          1km
Flight time [minutes]                     20 (6S 5,200mAh battery with zero payload)
Airframe diameter                          800mm
Airframe width                                 1,006mm
Airframe length                                 900mm
Airframe height                                211.5mm (docked)
Rotor diameter                                15in
Maximum speed                             33.5mph

Specification highlights of Project Hero:

Segregation Panel
Space below for casualty to pass through if required.
Clipping features to mount rescue equipment.

Sliding Floor
Heavy duty sliding floor for access.
Locking pattern to securely stow CP cases.
Additional table extends to create a working space.

Hidden Lockable Stowage
Located beneath the sliding floor is a secure case that is locked in place using an electro-magnetic retainer.

‘PALS’ Mounting Grid 
High level areas feature an attachment system to securely fix a variety of equipment.

Task Lighting
Rear compartment is equipped with strategically positioned LED lighting.

Power Supply Outlets
Innovative power supply points can accept multiple plug arrangements from different regions.
6x USB and 2x 12v sockets are also installed.

Bespoke CP Cases
Bespoke CP cases have necessary equipment to support reconnaissance teams.

Communications Equipment
The vehicle is equipped with multiple frequency radio equipment enabling contact to be made in a variety of situations.
Note: Press release courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover.