From smart city to smart country
World's First! Keep an eye on the sky because with SENSE, Belgian Citymesh is introducing a network of 70 Safety Drones built to support our emergency services. In a world's first, police stations and fire stations across Belgium will have a Drones-in-a-Box (DiaB) solution at their disposal. When emergency services receive a call, depending on the type of call, the Safety Drone will take off to gather critical information in the first 15 minutes. Thanks to 4K high definition & thermal images enriched with AI, the emergency services get a lot more info on the situation and can thus make better and faster decisions... Crucial minutes for a human life.
Every year, more than two million urgent calls reach our emergency centres. Based on that information, they have to decide what actions the police or fire brigade can take. A crucial decision that determines the success and speed of the intervention. Unfortunately, they often have to make that decision based on incomplete information. After pilot projects from 2018 in Kortrijk (Fluvia), Brussels Airport Company ( BAC) and Port of Antwerp Bruges, we completed the first full integration in Genk in the summer of 2022.
"Now, four years later, Citymesh is introducing SENSE. By scaling up the number of Safety Drones to 70, we want to create a drone grid across Belgium as a tool for emergency services. Something that does not yet exist anywhere else in the world, crazy right? We are the first Belgium to go from a smart city to a smart country. In each of the 35 emergency zones, two Drones-in-a-Box (DiaB) will be available. We believe very hard in this story at Citymesh, this can really save lives, " said Hans Similon, General Manager - Citymesh Safety Drones.
Citymesh's Safety Drones should help emergency services work even more efficiently. Today, they often do not know what awaits them the moment they turn out. In that initial chaos, they lose precious time. Once emergency services receive a call, a Safety Drone can autonomously take off and fly to the scene of the disaster to take accurate images. Those images are sent over Citymesh's 5G network to the emergency centre and emergency workers. On top of that, they are enriched using AI. This allows the drones to automatically detect smoke plumes, but also, for example, fire areas and people.
As a result, emergency workers get a better view of what is happening where and are thus faster and more prepared at the scene. This information not only saves lives and environments (such as forests and residential areas). SENSE also increases efficiency, as police and fire brigades can send out their units in a more targeted way.
From various Remote Operations Centres, pilots are available 24/7 to conduct the flights and intervene so that emergency services get the right images at the right time. The safety of the flights is ensured by a UTM platform where everything is logged and coordinated. If you want to know more about how everything works, feel free to give us a call.
Citymesh is the expert on 5G networks. 5G is essential for this project. Thanks to 5G, the drones can be remotely controlled and there is a reliable high broadband connection for the drone and the video images. This allows the emergency services to view the footage in real time, even before someone is at the scene. Citymesh is also no stranger to the world of drones. In 2018, it launched Safety Drones as a pioneer in Belgium through a pilot project in Genk, Port of Antwerp-Bruges and Kortrijk, among others.
On top of that, CEO Mitch De Geest has been a firefighter himself for more than 20 years. So he knows the workings of our emergency services well and knows where their resources often fall short. "SENSE sits at the intersection of those three fields of knowledge (5G, drones and emergency services). It is therefore only a logical step for Citymesh to immediately launch the world's first drone grid to support emergency services after the pilot project. This is how my greatest passions come together nicely," says Mitch De Geest, CEO of Citymesh.
For the implementation of this project, Citymesh is assisted by SkeyDrone, Cegeka and IDLabTE.