Malaria Mobile Project – Land Rover Saving the World
Land Rover has really been kicking it into gear at their Special Vehicle Operations skunkworks, developing tons of specialized vehicles for anything from fun to Search and Rescue Ops. From the Red Cross Discovery, to the SVR performance vehicles, to even two Jaguar rally cars, the SVO division has developed a wide range of vehicles for many situations. Yet now, not only are they looking towards creating a vehicle to combat Malaria, they’ve actually already developed it.
Called the Malaria Mobile Project, they were the winners of the 2018 Land Rover Bursary in partnership with the Royal Geographical Society. Land Rover has since built a Discovery vehicle to assist the Malaria Mobile Project in investigating the challenges presented by malaria control, especially as progress on malaria research has recently slowed down dramatically. Dr George Busby, the Mobile Malaria Project Director, had this to say: “We are humbled that Land Rover and the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) have chosen our project as the 2018 bursary winner. Although global malaria rates have halved over the past 20 years, progress more recently has stalled. By working with colleagues in Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya, our journey will help us to understand the challenges facing malaria researchers in Africa in 2019.”
The vehicle itself has been built with some incredible changes to incorporate medical, malaria research in the field. Equipped with a mobile genetic sequencing laboratory that includes a fridge and freezer unit to safely store scientific supplies, a custom load space configuration frame system with specially-designed storage equipment cases, and an on-board expedition battery, the Land Rover Discovery is ready to assist in the fight against Malaria. Beyond the changes though for medical tests, the vehicle also incorporates rescue equipment, winch, sand and mud tracks, LED night driving lamps, and a roof rack for extra storage. To be honest, it reminds me a bit of the Jurassic Park II Mercedes vehicles, with their customization.
Land Rover is no stranger to innovation and development, but their SVO skunkworks are always able and willing to take it up a notch; this vehicle will hopefully lead the way for continued malaria prevention and treatment, as other SVO vehicles have paved the way in their field.