Royal Canadian Air Force takes new SAR tracking technology

Royal Canadian Air Force takes new SAR tracking technology

20-Apr-2023 Source: CENTUM

The Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) has extended its use of CENTUM’s Lifeseeker for Royal Canadian Air Force Search and Rescue operations. The RCAF is now using an increased total of eight units on its fleet of Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.

Lifeseeker enables SAR operators to locate people quickly and accurately, saving lives and optimizing operational costs. It does so by treating their mobile phones as beacons, meaning the only requirement is that the phone is turned on. There is no need for the phone to be connected to a network, which is very important in the Canadian wilderness.

Lifeseeker can also be used to communicate with the missing person to assess any immediate medical needs, the best place to pick them up and so on. Importantly, however, the system does not rely on the missing person taking any action.

Héctor Estévez, CEO of CENTUM, said, “This expansion speaks of the high level of confidence the Royal Canadian Air Force has in Lifeseeker. The reason is because Lifeseeker makes it very simple to locate someone’s cellphone to within a few meters, meaning the SAR team’s job is much easier. Nothing matters more than saving lives and we are honored to be instrumental in helping SAR teams fly successful missions.”

Following extensive testing and authorizations, Lifeseeker is now being used by more than 25 SAR operators throughout North America, Europe and Asia. As well as the RCAF, users include REGA, the Swiss Air Force, and the Vigili del Fuoco. And the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security recently selected Lifeseeker following a highly competitive bidding process. Between them, they have used Lifeseeker on over 100 successful missions in the past year alone.

The Lifeseeker airborne hardware is enclosed in a small unit that is simple to integrate into the aircraft. Combined with CENTUM’s proprietary algorithms, the system provides highly accurate geolocation. The user interface is very straightforward to use and Lifeseeker can be operated using either a PC or a tablet.

Estévez continued, “Lifeseeker creates its own network to triangulate a phone’s exact position and, therefore, to find the missing person. It has been used across the world to find people in the most difficult circumstances, including in forests and at night. Just a few days ago, it was used to successfully find someone buried in an avalanche in the French Alps. It enables SAR teams to find people quickly in circumstance where every minute counts. That is why we are so passionate about developing this technology and providing it to as many SAR teams as we can.”

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