Drone location technology finds people 100x faster than traditional methods
PALO ALTO, Calif. – Jan. 18, 2023 – NEC X Inc., the innovation incubator and accelerator for NEC’s emerging technologies, announced today that technology startup Flyhound Corporation has graduated from its Venture Studio Program. The search for missing people and disaster victims can be a time-sensitive task, and with the Flyhound solution, a missing person can be located in just 30 minutes within a 50-meter radius.
Flyhound incorporates patented technology, developed by NEC Laboratories Europe, that can be mounted on a drone to triangulate cellular signals from the mobile devices of missing people and disaster victims. It displays their position on a digital map of the search area in real time, reducing the time required for search. With the Flyhound solution, the location of missing people can be determined 100 times faster than with current search and rescue methods.1,2
“NEC X is pleased to have worked with Flyhound to incubate and help develop their business from day one,” said Shige Ihara, President and CEO, NEC X. “Right after matching them with the research team from NEC Laboratories Europe, the Flyhound team formed quickly and did a great job conducting customer discovery and engaging with many different organizations, including public safety agencies, to clearly identify their needs. They then completed several proofs of concept to validate the product-market fit.” Ihara added, “Public safety and disaster response are resource intensive. First responders are often in need of additional manpower – technology that saves time, money and lives will always be in demand. We wish Flyhound great success as a graduate of our program.”
Corey Hoefling, a firefighter at New Jersey’s Carlstadt Fire Department, spoke about the importance of personal cell phones and value-add technology like Flyhound’s in rescue situations, “It’s incredibly valuable from a rescue standpoint to be able to map out where cell phones are in an emergency. Cell phones are something people always carry with them, so if we need to find someone in an emergency, this is a tool that can get us to them faster, and ultimately help save lives.”
Flyhound technology does not require an active cellular network signal, making it ideal for use in remote or disaster areas where cellular network infrastructure is not available or has been disabled. Unlike existing search and rescue drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras, Flyhound can locate missing people even when the view is obstructed, making it possible to detect people behind trees, foliage, and even inside of structures beyond what any camera can see. Flyhound CEO and Co-Founder Manny Cerniglia said, “We are proud to be able to assist public safety agencies in the crucial task of saving lives and have made it our mission to find people fast.”
Using Flyhound technology, first responders can also identify channel artifacts produced by different propagation environments, like rubble caused by earthquakes, floodwaters, or extreme snowfall. Using this capability, the location of disaster victims or missing people can also be detected. For example, first responders can identify homes or buildings destroyed by natural disasters that still may have survivors in them. Additionally, Flyhound integrates into unmanned aerial vehicle and incident management platforms, making it easy for agencies to deploy the technology rapidly to meet their changing needs.
Flyhound has been accepted into Alchemist Accelerator and the TELUS Community Safety and Wellness Program to enhance their business launch. Rachel Chalmers, President and Managing Director, Alchemist Accelerator, said, “It’s been a privilege to work with Manny and the team as they develop this valuable NEC technology into a commercially viable solution for public safety. Today’s launch of Flyhound makes the world a safer place, and as for the company’s future, the sky’s the limit.”
1. Indicators for Post-Disaster Search and Rescue (Yen-Yu Chiu et al.). Sustainability, Oct. 2020, 12, 8262.
2. SARDO: An Automated Search-and-Rescue Drone-based Solution for Victims Localization (A. Albanese, V. Sciancalepore, X. Costa-Perez). NEC Laboratories Europe, IEEE Explore, 2021.
About NEC X
NEC X Inc. builds on the strength of NEC’s technologies to accelerate the development of innovative products and services. NEC X provides its Venture Studio Programs to entrepreneurs-in-residence (EIRs) to fast-track the development of technologies and business ideas brought by EIRs or from inside NEC. NEC X has won industry-leading awards such as “Best in Biz” and “BIG Innovation.” The company is located in Silicon Valley, enabling fast access to its entrepreneurial ecosystem and strong high-technology market. Learn more at https://nec-x.com or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Flyhound Corporation
Flyhound Corporation is a U.S. technology startup that provides a patented drone solution to locate missing persons rapidly in altered or challenging outdoor environments. Flyhound technology can greatly reduce the time and resources needed by emergency response teams when searching for missing people. It is a recent graduate of NEC X’s Venture Studio and the Alchemist Accelerator programs. For more information about Flyhound, visit https://www.flyhound.com.
About NEC Laboratories Europe GmbH
NEC Laboratories Europe GmbH researches and develops cutting-edge technology to create innovative social solutions. Located in Heidelberg, Germany, major research areas of NEC Laboratories Europe include artificial intelligence, blockchain security, 5G and 6G networks and IoT platforms. These technologies promote NEC Group solutions for a better society in the fields of digital health, safer cities, public services and communication infrastructure. For more information, visit https://www.neclab.eu.
About NEC Europe Ltd.
NEC Europe Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of NEC Corporation, a leader in the integration of IT network technologies that benefit businesses and people around the world. NEC Europe is building upon its heritage and reputation for innovation and quality by providing its expertise, solutions and services to a broad range of customers, from telecom operators to enterprises and the public sector. For additional information, please visit the NEC Europe Ltd. home page at http://uk.nec.com.