uk insurer direct line has partnered with drone experts to create a prototype fleet of flying torch drones that are responsive to an individual’s movements and controlled via a bespoke app. designed to provide illumination where street lights are lacking, the fleetlights mobile app allows you to summon a drone and set your journey using your gps location — be it walking from the train station after a late shift or the last few miles of a night time drive on unforgiving country lanes.

requesting a drone is as easy as ordering a taxi



this technology represents the first time a fleet of drones is able to respond to a subject on the ground via new ‘rover’ technology. this software not only introduces new capabilities, it also allows a dispatcher to be contacted via the fleetlights app in real-time and then dispatch the fleet on planned, way pointed missions, driven by the user.

fleetlights-direct-linefleetlights guide a runner on her way
image by john nguyen/PA wire



this advanced software is also the first time the ‘light my way’ functionality — which sets and maintains a fixed distance ahead of a subject, rather than behind — has been used with a swarm of drones as a brand utility. requesting a fleetlight is as simple and intuitive as ordering a taxi and communication can be made in real-time between fleet control and your smartphone.

fleetlights-direct-linefleetlights guide a cyclist on his way
image by john nguyen/PA wire



futurologist dr ian pearson comments, ‘this ground-breaking prototype technology could serve a really positive purpose in the future – providing a safer, more efficient way to light both individuals and organisations. from local councils, search & rescue teams and the emergency services right through to local cycling and running clubs, the usages are endless and I can see this being commonplace by 2021.’

fleetlights-direct-linethe fleetlights are called to action using a tailor made app



mark evans, director of marketing, from direct line said, ‘increasingly, technology will shift the centre of gravity for insurance from restitution towards prevention. we want to lead the trend into this space and so we are always looking at innovative ways to proactively improve everyday life through emerging technologies. we felt that street lights could be much better, especially as the nights draw in. this prototype service has been created to show how a responsive light service could help people to feel safer.’ 

uk tv presenter suzi perry at the launch of fleetlights
image by matt crossick/PA wire





fleetlights providing illumination



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edited by: peter corboy | designboom