Using drones to help pedestrians find their way in the dark

Earlier this year a video went viral of a drone following a person around automatically as they did various activities in rather stunning settings.  Such technologies are now entering mainstream usage, but it’s probably fair to say that most of them are used for just these kind of selfie like activities.

A project developed by the British insurance company Direct Line offers a slightly different application however.  They’ve developed drones that are designed to provide better security for individuals and homeowners.

Shining a light

The product, known as Fleetlights, is a drone that can be requested on-demand by the user to provide illumination in areas lacking in street lighting.  The device is called by the user via their smartphone, with the request then sent on to a Fleetlights operator complete with the location of the customer.

The operator then dispatches a fleet of drones to fly just ahead of the customer to illuminate the way ahead and accompany them on the remainder of their journey.

The service was designed to provide pedestrians with help in areas with inadequate street lighting, as is often the case in rural roads throughout the UK.

The software behind the system is made available as open-source with the hope that other developers will continue to develop and improve upon it.  Whilst the number of potential customers for such a service does appear to be rather small, the company also believe it could be useful in search and rescue environments.

It’s an interesting concept, albeit not one I can see really taking off.  Check out the video below to see the drones in action.




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