• As unveiled at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) has designed and engineered a bespoke version of the All-New Land Rover Discovery for the Austrian Red Cross - and it comes complete with some ground-breaking, gravity-defying technology…

      Under the banner ‘Project Hero’ the new vehicle will feature a state of the art search and rescue drone that can take off and land on the Discovery’s roof, even when the vehicle is in motion.

      Operated using in-vehicle tablet software, live footage can be transmitted to emergency response teams, helping them respond more quickly. “We’ve used drones in our response efforts for a number of years," says Dr Jemilah Mahmood, Under Secretary General, Partnerships. “What is different here is how integrated it is into the Discovery. Roads may be blocked, or bridges collapsed, for example. In a search and rescue scenario, this technology will allow us to reach places that we otherwise couldn’t easily access. The drone will help us quickly overcome those obstacles, ensuring that people in need receive the support they need quickly.”

      “In a search and rescue scenario, this technology will allow us to reach places that we otherwise couldn’t easily access.”

      Other features built into the heavily modified 3.0-litre TD6 Discovery include a heavy-duty sliding floor located in the rear load space that can be deployed as an additional work surface; a segregation panel behind the rear seats fitted with equipment mounting points; and two specialist toolkits concealed behind the vehicles rear windows.

      The All-New Discovery will be trialled at the Austrian Red Cross training centre in Erzberg and in Vienna for 12 months from June 2017. The only difficulty Dr Mahmood envisages, is how to decide which of her operatives is selected to operate the drone: "Of course, it is a complex and expensive piece of equipment and will need specially trained experts to use it. 

      "Somehow, I doubt there will be a shortage of volunteers putting themselves forward. I might even pull rank."

      Asked whether such specialist Land Rovers may be commissioned by the emergency services or military, Greg Clark Director of SVO Vehicle Personalisation, said: “I hope that Project Hero inspires all sorts of potential partners for SVO, and I am certain it enhances further recognition that the New Discovery offers unrivalled versatility in the SUV world.

      “Our team of engineers and designers has enjoyed the challenge of creating Project Hero and they are excited to explore and leverage its capabilities in as many applications as possible.”

      With a partnership dating back to 1954, Land Rover vehicles have become synonymous with the essential work of the Red Cross. Having supplied the Red Cross with over 120 vehicles, Land Rover currently supports 18 humanitarian projects in 25 countries.

      > Find out more about the All-New Discovery

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