Drones have begun integrating in search and rescue operations around the world. For missing people, the main difference between being found had been quick detection. Time is at the essence, and what better way to kick off a search by using drones. They can survey large amounts of areas with their high elevation. This can easily rule out places, while also (for the most part) find the missing persons themselves.
But most of these search and rescue missions involve woodland areas and forests. You never see drones rescuing from land to water. Until now.
A drone is making news at the coastlines of Spain. In their beaches and ports, drone technology has started acting as lifeguards watching out for danger.
The Auxdron Lifeguard Drone:
These are not simple civilian drones, mind you. This particular lifeguard branch has specialized parts. The Auxdron Lifeguard Drone boasts 8 powerful rotors, 2 located in each of its 4 massive arms. While looking enormous, the carbon-fiber body makes it so that the drone is as light as possible. This gives it much needed speed and precision, which can be the difference between life and death in the water.
The Auxdron has a storage compartment at its base, where lifeguards can place two inflatable jackets at a time. This way, a drone can simply fly out into the location of drowning victims, and drop the load. This can help the people stay afloat while responders arrive in the scene. Of course, being a drone specially built for water search and rescue, the exterior is waterproof. The drone is not autonomous, however, so a navigator is still needed for operations.
The battery life for the Auxdron also delivers as the job requires. Needing to fly through stretches in the water, distance reach was a priority. This particular model can fly for 34 minutes straight before running out of fuel. Enough time to use its bird’s eye view to scout the area for signs of life. With the inflatable jackets equipped, the flight time goes down to about 26 minutes. Still, it can be the difference in search and rescue, especially in a volatile place like the sea.
The company behind this lifeguard drone is the Spanish tech startup GeneralDrones. Their main goal is to create a supplement, if not the main driving force, for a water rescue.
Spanish Beach Incident:
This week, seven swimmers at a beach in the Spanish town of Sagunto needed rescuing. That is where the Auxdron came in, and showed off its capabilities. The swimmers were last seen 230 feet from the shoreline. To get an accurate location, a bird’s eye view was useful. There, they spotted the swimmers, and the drone flew out – lifejackets onboard.
It was a quick operation, with the drone dropping the lifejackets onto the swimmers, while keeping an eye on them. This was the case until the first responders could arrive, rescuing the swimmers entirely.