frog — Drones
In 2014, frog designers challenged themselves to envision the future of drone technology and its capacity to improve human lives.
The word “drone” usually conjures up negative images of invisible eyes in the sky and shadowy, unknown forces. However, frog designers see these unmanned aerial vehicles as an enormous opportunity to improve people’s lives – and possibly even save them. For this design challenge, frog envisioned a future where drones are not spies, weaponry, or scary agents of evil; they can be trusted aids that assist humans tasked with doing some of the most dangerous work we know. In this world, these devices—with their sensors and bleeding edge technology—become extensions of our society’s infrastructure and essential to our well-being.
The Snow Cyclops is a multi-purpose mountain Unmanned Arial Vehicle. It can be used to prevent avalanches by searching for potential risk zones near a ski resort or above a mountain road. It can carry explosives to trigger preventative avalanches without requiring a helicopter or a team of demolitions experts to reach inaccessible mountain passes. It can also be sent to an avalanche zone to perform search and rescue missions to find victims under the snow, by using its thermal cameras and sending the information to the rescue team. With an average survival time of less than 20 minutes in snow, rapid-response is critical in saving lives. Lastly, it can be used to carry a rescue kit or a small package to lost hikers at a much lower cost than a helicopter.
The Cyclodrone is a flying beacon that can be configured to fly ahead of and behind a bicycle rider on roads to improve visibility and reduce the chances of being struck by a vehicle. The drone is paired to the rider’s mobile phone and flies along a predetermined path programmed before the ride. Sensors in the drone maintain a safe distance from the rider using a combination of an Infrared sensors and a WiFi connection. The large beacon on top creates a highly visible warning to cars for safer solo outings on narrow one-lane roads, and a camera records dynamic video of each ride.
The Firestorm is a fire rescue drone capable of scouting for trapped victims in dangerous and blocked off areas of a burning building before a rescue squad prepares for entry. Using a scout drone instead of blindly locating victims in a building fire reduces risk to the firemen. With its advanced array of sensors, Firestorm improves the likelihood of finding the victim. The equipped cameras—both traditional and thermal—allow the firemen to spot victims regardless of smoke density. Additionally, carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide sensors detect dangerous gases at the scene. A short wave bullhorn enables communication from the ground team to the victim as a rescue squad works its way inside. Bright LEDs can even be a beacon to disoriented victims to guide them on the safest path out of their treacherous environment.
The Hummingbirds are autonomous flying drones that scout large areas of land using sensors that identify soil that is rich in nutrients in hard to reach terrain that would otherwise be inaccessible through traditional agricultural techniques. They can fertilize the soil and map out the topography of the area to inform the type of crops to be planted and maximize the system’s productivity. Once the crops are ripe, all terrain Beetle rovers are deployed to harvest and pack the produce into crates that are then transported to the nearest shipping center or warehouse by the Hummingbirds. The slick, organic design presents a friendlier appearance to the flying vehicles and the polished surface reflects the environment and helps keep the drone electronics from overheating in warm climates.
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