Bike and drone pair could help first responders with search and rescue

Jul 23, 2021

Wareham’s first responders might soon have technology that would make certain rescue operations easier, courtesy of 1854 Cycling’s bicycle with a link to a drone video feed.

The product is still being developed, but Brandale Randolph — the founder and CEO of 1854 Cycling — explained that the final version will be a bicycle with a mounted screen display. The bike will be paired with a drone that will be flown by a licensed drone pilot. As the drone flies, it will transmit a video feed to the display on the cyclist’s screen.

“It’ll be used for search and rescue — that type of thing,” said Sergeant Paul Sommers.

Randolph and other members of the 1854 Cycling company’s team were in Wareham on Friday, July 23, to conduct a demonstration of the bike and drone technology.

“There was an incident that brought the need for a drone to everybody,” Randolph said. “Between Chief Kelley and Chief Correia and everyone else that’s here, thank you guys for having us.”

Randolph explained that his company primarily builds bikes but was approached about two years ago by a program sponsored by the U.S. Air Force and asked to connect advanced drone technology to the company’s bike and console display.

“We’re going to have the simulation today with use cases for the drone,” he said. He explained that his team would be making a promotional video of the demonstration that would be shared with other interested parties. “There are police departments, law enforcement, fire and rescue, search and rescue, parking investment and also militaries that want to see this thing happen.”

The demonstration in Wareham was the first time the technology had been tested, so there were a few kinks to iron out. 

“You are the first ever to see this thing in action,” he said. 

Despite a few hiccups with the technology and the prototype of the bike, the bike and drone set off for a simulated land search scenario on the A.D. Makepeace Company’s land at Tihonet Road. 

Later in the day, water and building simulated searches and a simulated school emergency situation were scheduled to test the technology.

Randolph did not say when Wareham might have regular access to the technology.