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Around the globe, urbanization is leading to the construction of ever-higher commercial and residential buildings. This is a feasible strategy for housing large populations in small geographic areas but, in an emergency, tall buildings can severely compromise rescue efforts. The consequences can be fatal.
A team of SAIT alumni has recognized this challenge and hopes to change the way emergency rescues are executed worldwide. For the capstone project in their final year as students in the Engineering Design and Drafting Technology diploma program, they conceptualized the Aerial Emergency Rescue Operations Vehicle (AERO-V).
“AERO-V is a human-piloted quadcopter meant to be easily transported to an emergency site for rapid deployment and rescue operations,” says Nghia Vu (EDT ’18). The innovative vehicle will hold one pilot, one rescuer and up to six passengers. Advanced safety and stabilization technologies will make it safe and easy to maneuver among skyscrapers.
The tragic events of 9/11 inspired the AERO-V concept. Vu saw how first responders were limited in their abilities to rescue people trapped high up in the twin towers. Fire trucks can typically only reach as high as eight or nine storeys and helicopters are unable to fly within 200 feet of any building. AERO-V is designed to fly vertically as high as two kilometres and can fly directly up to the face of a building, making fast and safe rescue possible.
The team, which also includes Thien Nguyen (EDT ’18), Jingyan (Jessica) Su (EDT ’18), and SiKwon Yang (EDT ’18), spent months researching everything from material strength and structural stress to Canada flight regulations. Currently in phase three of what looks to be a five- to six-phase project, the team is raising capital to build a full-scale AERO-V model.
Dr. Shawn Keshmiri, an associate professor in the aerospace engineering department at the University of Kansas, has taken an interest in the project. He’s been providing the team with guidance on aerospace design practices and standards.
“The AERO-V concept is an out-of-box idea that not only reflects the creativity of the design team but also shows their well-thought-out prediction of the future needs and trajectory of aerospace technologies,” says Keshmiri.
Vu says industry feedback has been promising and he is optimistic about the future of AERO-V.
“This process has been an eye-opener because people aren’t usually aware of the risk they take living in such high places,” he says. “We tell people there is no technological hurdle today to make this vehicle possible. Everything exists today to make this vehicle work.”
I was born in China and moved to Calgary after high school. I chose the EDT program because of my interest in drawing, designing and engineering. I enjoy learning about new technologies and utilizing software like AutoCAD, SOLIDWORKS and Revit. In my spare time I swim, play badminton and paint.
Jingyan (Jessica) Su (EDT ’18) — Design Analyst
I was born overseas but raised in Edson, Alberta. I learned that education is the great equalizer, but it is innovation, communication and determination that will inspire success. After more than 15 years working in oil and gas, it was time to pursue a legacy project. SAIT augmented the designing skills I needed and, more importantly, gave me access to an environment that promotes innovation.
Nghia Vu (EDT ’18) — Team Lead
I was an international student from Korea and I am proud to be a SAIT graduate. The EDT program was not easy, but the instructors prepared me to follow my passion as a structural or architectural designer. I hope to become a professional technologist through the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta.
SiKwon Yang (EDT ’18) — Modeling Specialist
I was born in Vietnam and moved to Calgary when I was 14. I spent my childhood making toys out of household items and doing science experiments. After graduating from the University of Calgary, I took the EDT program at SAIT and it provided the skills to communicate ideas through drawings.
Thien Nguyen (EDT ’18) — Lead Designer
TEXT BY KATHRYN KAZOLEAS ILLUSTRATIONS COURTESY AERO DESIGNS