Songbird VTOL-drone for emergency response as a part of 5G project in Ulm, Germany

This project will improve the rescue chain by combination of newest 5G mobile technology and German drone solution.

About the project

An emergency can affect anyone. Therefore, the project “5G: Stadt. Land. Leben retten” reorganizes the rescue chain, starting from the emergency call, via first aid support up to the emergency services at the site of accident with the help of the new 5G mobile technology. The project is focused to support the rescue chain especially for countryside with faster and more effective information as well as reduced transport times for medical equipment, samples etc. Core element to achieve the goals of the project is the integration of the Germandrones VTOL-drone Songbird into a full ecosystem of sensors, emergency logistic, hospital organization and the safe use of the airspace with an action radius of up to 60 km included automated flight operation. The “5G: Stadt. Land. Leben retten” investigates ways to improve the protection and rescue of people from various perspectives: 

Emergency call: Information from the site of accident is needed as early as possible to support the rescue chain. Live videos from the Songbird drone facilitate the control center to assess the situation at the site within the shortest time. Machine learned translation modules and highly efficient and robust data transmission enable the rescue team to avoid delays in operation due to language barriers or blocked communication with hospitals, etc. 

First aid: Shortening the therapy-free interval by delivering the required first aid material, blood or special medicals needed on-site with highly automated drones. 

Emergency services: Optimization of the assessment of complex operational situations (hazardous substances or gas leaks, heavy rain events, major events) as well as the protection of the emergency services. 

Germandrones SongbirdPicture – Songbird 150 for emergency response operations during the flight tests 

Area specifics 

For years, the cities of Ulm and Neu-Ulm, as well as the districts of Alb-Donau-Kreis and Neu-Ulm, have been driving forward the continued positive future development of the region, which crosses the state borders of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, in many fields.  

To test the 5G possibilities in this area, Nokia’s test network will be used, which covers around 300 km² of inner-city and rural areas. It covers parts of the autobahn, the Alb descent, and rural areas on the Alb plateau and the Neu-Ulm district. 

Germandrones SongbirdPicture - Project Area Overview  

The topographical conditions of the Swabian Jura with hard-to-reach areas in deep valleys and plateau areas are a challenge for the technical implementation of the project. At the same time, it opens fields for the effective usage of innovative technologies, like using UAVs to acquire data from hard-to-reach areas and 5G technology to push the limits of the standard radio connection between the involved stakeholders.  

Germandrones SongbirdPicture - Project Area Elevation Profile Laichingen-Weißenhorn 


Germandrones’ contribution to the project 

Germandrones’ R&D department is participating in the project to solve a diversity of tasks with  VTOL system Songbird complemented by the DroneIntelligence software, which was specially developed by Germandrones to realise VTOL-missions in BVLOS-conditions.  

In the first scenario the drone is used to investigate hard-to-reach areas with hybrid cameras including standard optical zoom and thermal sensors combined with a laser rangefinder. Since the area has rivers and mountains it is particularly important to save time for the initial exploration with the UAV to plan further rescue operations effectively, e.g. in any case of flood, rockfall or other interruptions. The sensors integrated to the Songbird capture thermal footprints, transmit incident coordinates to the operations control center and first responders or recognize persons from one km distance. 

Another scenario planned to test during the next stages is the transportation of medical goods. The list of equipment which should be transported according to emergency response companies is still under discussion with medical professionals, since it should be devices which are essential to provide first aid effectively while medical support is still on the way.  

For the tasks described a stable connection and a wide band-rate with a drone is required to avoid interferences and delays in translation. 

Considering landscape, height difference and potential take-off place for the drone, which is supposed to be at the lowest point close to the urban area, the reliability of the connection is one of the most challenging tasks. But with the 5G network from Nokia with adjusted parameters for the drone, the connection is not only reliable but also expands drone application scenarios for the users. Since the information from the Songbird can be transmitted to all departments involved. 

Germandrones SongbirdPicture – Maximilian Laiacker (Germandrones engineer) together with Steffen Schulz from Nokia and Andreas Münzner from Accellonet during 5G mobile network tests 

Link: 5G: Stadt. Land. Leben retten

Your Contact:

Dr. Klaus Scho, CEO

Tel. + 49 (0)30 34 78 12 81