AutoFlight (峰飞航空科技), an advanced aerial mobility startup, recently dispatched a team of employees and an eVTOL aircraft to the flood-stricken areas in northern China’s Hebei Province to assist with search and rescue efforts.
The seven-member team from the Shanghai-based firm arrived in Hebei on August 3, CAAC News, an industrial news portal, reported yesterday.
At the request of local emergency response authorities, the AutoFlight task force travelled to Zhuozhou, Laishui and Gaobeidian, three localities that were battered by floods brought by Typhoon Doksuri.
The typhoon rampaged through northern China’s Beijing, Tianjin and parts of Hebei, displacing residents, swamping cities and large swaths of rural areas and leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.
AutoFlight is one of them. Its task force flew its eVTOL V50 “White Shark” to search for survivors in 29 villages ravaged by floods as well as assess the damage.
Over the course of numerous flights, it searched a total of 9,000 buildings, covering more than 7,000 households and a population of 30,000.
V50 has a capacity of 20 kg and a flight endurance of six hours. With a self-developed “lift-and-cruise” structure, it is able to land and take off vertically and switch to a cruising mode using fixed wings once in the air.
Therefore, the eVTOL has minimum requirement for the size of a vertipad. Coupled with a long flight time and long-haul image transmission capabilities, it can perform tasks like aerial surveying when equipped with cameras.
With a 30x optical zoom lens and an infrared camera mounted on V50, the AutoFlight team inspected the flooded villages and relayed real-time images to a ground command center, supplying firsthand information for decision-making.
When the drone spotted villagers cut off by the floods, it immediately alerted local officials and rescuers to reach the victims. An unspecified number of people have been evacuated this way.
The UAV also air dropped food, bottled water and other supplies to stranded victims.