Israeli, US Firms to Develop Indoor Mini-Drone for First Responders

Israeli-based tech startup CyberBee and California-based AI developer EyeCloud were awarded a $1.75-million grant to produce an indoor mini-drone for first responders deployed in GPS-denied interior spaces.

The autonomous indoor drone would enhance Israeli and American first responders’ ability to efficiently locate and rescue victims in emergencies such as earthquakes, fires, or terror attacks.

It can also serve as a navigation tool to follow perpetrators in indoor locations such as banks, malls, and schools.

Under the agreement, CyberBee’s spatial intelligence-powered modules for autonomous robots will be joined with EyeCloud’s AI camera capabilities and real-time cloud processing technology. 

“Our mission is to save lives using our modules, by assisting first responders in finding casualties faster and safer in indoor challenging environments,” CyberBee said in a statement.

The lightweight, low-power technology is expected to be operational by 2024.

The joint project is funded by the Israel-US Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation, which aims to “stimulate, promote, and support industrial R&D of mutual benefit to the US and Israel.”

Homeland Security Program

The mini-drone project was selected by the US Department of Homeland Security’s (HLS) Science and Technology Directorate and Israel’s Public Security Ministry.

It is part of the broader BIRD HLS program that seeks first responder technology solutions in areas including perimeter protection, wearable technology, and situational awareness.

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“Over the years, the Israeli Public Security Ministry has been looking for technological tools to enhance security in the public space,” said Gad Frishman, chief scientist at the ministry.

“We wish success to the awarded companies to further develop their joint system to increase  [first responders’ operational effectiveness].”