Israel US flags.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The United States and Israel are working together to develop technology to help first responders, with a $1.9 million investment from the Israel-US Binational Industrial R&D Foundation (BIRD).
The foundation awarded funds to two joint projects selected by the Public Security Ministry and the US Department of Homeland Security, but the projects are also tapping the private sector for financing, bringing their total value to $4.5m.
“As an R&D organization, we are constantly seeking nontraditional partners and mechanisms for finding technologies to fill our critical homeland security capability gaps,” Dan Cotter, director of the First Responders Group at the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate, said on Wednesday.
“Our first responders are crucial to helping the public in emergency situations, and their safety is an utmost priority for us. We hope that these technologies will be able to assist in tracking responders and increasing communications for safer operations,” he added.
The first project is a precision identification device, which Holon-based ARTsys360 and Ohio-based Lion Group will cooperate to develop.
The second, an indoor positioning, locating, and reporting system, is being developed by Israel’s SayVU Technologies and California’s Opto Knowledge Systems.
The grants were the first in a joint program called NextGen First Responder Technologies, which focuses on developing tech for the fields of law enforcement, firefighting and emergency medical services.
As part of the program, Israel and the US laid out a list of 21 capability gaps they hope to address.
Among them were to detect, monitor and analyze threats and hazards at the scene of an incident, and the ability to track the responders themselves in real-time. They also included problems of identifying people in stress conditions and managing largescale public disorder events such as riots.
Eliezer Rozenbaum, the Public Security Ministry’s deputy director-general, praised the new initiative on Wednesday.
“In this first cycle of selecting projects relating to first responder technologies, we have created a unique channel for research and development which will promote binational HLS [home land security] collaborations that will benefit public security in both our countries,
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