Life-saving Drones

Saatchi & Saatchi
/ Fleetlights

Life-saving lights are literally “brilliant”

People used to say the internet was like a library with all the books on the floor. Then along came Google to tidy it all up. Direct Line had a similar situation with its Fleetlights prototype. The idea was great. Unfortunately, it suffered from technical issues that made it unworkable. Like Google did with those library books, Morgan Walsh picked up the pieces and came up with a technical solution that is literally a life-saver.

The Challenge

Fleetlights is a prototype light-on-demand service that allows users to summon overhead light when they want it.

Users activate Fleetlights’ ready-to-go drones from an app on their phone. The drones can reach even remote locations in super-quick time.

Once they’ve arrived, the drones hover just above and in front of the user. They then fly in close formation, following the movement of the app. The drones’ lights beam downwards so the user can see where they are going as they walk or drive at up to 30mph.

The challenge came about when previous attempts at flying the drones just ahead of users (so they could see where they were going) resulted in airborne crashes and unreliable operation.

The Solution

Saatchi & Saatchi asked our team at Morgan Walsh if we could solve Fleetlights’ significant technical challenges.

Pinpoint accuracy

We had to make the GPS system far more precise. The original systems were only accurate to within metres, which meant the drones could easily fly into one another. Our redesigned, centimeter-accurate GPS, along with the communications network we designed and implemented, resulted in perfect flight patterns. This enabled the drones to fly side-by-side with no fear of colliding into each other.

Meticulous testing allowed us to get 10 drones in the air at the same time, flying two-metres apart in close formation at over 30mph.

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Exploring the technology

The Outcome

Live trials resulted in highly successful single-person search-and-rescue assistance.

Direct Line made the technical details of the project open-source. This allows other interested parties to redesign the system, which increases the chances of even more lives being saved in future.

Sensational news coverage

News of the life-saving drones resulted in media coverage that reached 1.2 billion people worldwide. The promotional film produced by Saatchi & Saatchi was nominated for the Innovation Lions Award at the Cannes Film Festival.

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The final cut

"Gary's team at Morgan Walsh came up with a solution that is literally brilliant! They overcame extremely difficult technical and operational challenges. This led to an exceptional outcome for ourselves and Direct Line Insurance’s Fleetlights’ drone-light project.”
Simone Maggi
Simone Maggi
Executive Producer
Saatchi & Saatchi

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