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Drone designed to find missing persons, detect gas leaks

Our Prototypes column introduces new vehicle concepts and presents visuals from designers who illustrate the ideas. Some of them will be extensions of existing concepts, others will be new, some will be production ready, and others really far-fetched.

The concept

The Seekloc (Seek and Localize) are special drones designed to detect water and gas leaks and chemical products in the environment. They are deployed in groups from a special truck that also acts as a command center. The Seekloc could also be used to find missing persons in cities.

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Seekloc Charles Bombardier Charles Bombardier

Seekloc Charles Bombardier Charles Bombardier

The background

Imagine you're responsible for a city's aqueduct and you need to localise a broken pipe underground; or that you're in charge of the fire department and you need to find a gas leak or chemicals in a neighbourhood. Or imagine that you're a police officer tasked with finding a missing person. The Seekloc was created with all these scenarios in mind.

How it works

The Seekloc are small, nimble robots that rest on two wheels, similar to the Segway RMP220. The base units would be able to fit in a special truck capable of storing, transporting, and deploying them anywhere in the city within a very short period of time.

The autonomous Seekloc truck could drive itself to a specified location immediately following an order from either the police chief or fire chief. Upon arrival, the Seekloc could immediately begin working while trained technicians are on their way to the scene, thus saving precious minutes.

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The Seekloc are built with a modular system that can be adapted to the need of its owners. Therefore, various types of devices could be installed like acoustic detectors, chemical or infrared sensors, cameras, or electronic noses like the ones developed by Montreal's Sensing Dynamics.

The Seekloc truck would act as a command center. It could be driven manually if needed, or with driverless technology and it would be able to store up to 8 units at a time. The vehicle's windshield could also double as a widescreen to project a real-time map of the situation (from the inside) and send information and a live feed to elected officials, the media, and social networks. Each Seekloc would be equipped with a camera and would send its encrypted video feed to a live processing unit where it would be dispatched accordingly.

What's it used for

The primary use would be to speed up the process of detecting dangerous leaks or finding missing persons when time is of the essence. Such robots could also be useful to maintenance crews and other departments of the city. Maybe it would even be useful to Google as a mapping robot.

The designer

I would like to thank Abhishek Roy, who created the incredible 3D renderings of the Seekloc. Roy is the owner of Lunatic Koncepts, a design firm based in India. Roy's team also created the renderings for the Xoupir futuristic bus concept and the Inkubax, a local incubator accelerator concept for small towns.

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