Flight control technology is getting more and more advanced, and the potential for drones to be used for many different purposes, is growing just as fast. Only recently, drones have been used in Australia for purposes far beyond their original intention; no longer are these unmanned aerial vehicles being used solely for help on the modern battlefield, or as mere recreational toys.
The ‘Little Ripper’.
Drones affectionately named as ‘little ripper’s’, are being used in Australia to help with ocean rescues. Recent reports state that two swimmers, caught in unexpectedly strong waves out at sea, were the latest to receive life saving help from the drones.
At the time of this rescue, the drones were being tested by lifeguards on the coastline of Lennox Head in New South Wales as part of a costly strategy to spot deadly sharks. They received an emergency radio message about a pair of swimmers in trouble out at sea not far from the lifeguard’s current location and sprang into action.
How exactly did the drone help rescue the swimmers?
In less than 70 seconds, the drones were deployed and managed to locate the frightened pair before dropping a flotation pod down into the water; the swimmers were then able to use the device to help swim to shore, and to safety.
Australia’s coastguards have been calling for more extensive drone use:
Australian lifeguards state that the ‘little ripper’ drones are incredibly efficient under such circumstances, and that there is no reason why they shouldn’t be used more often to help in life saving rescue missions such as that of the two swimmers. They are easy to fly and can reach people in distress far quicker than a boat can. The lifeguard who deployed the drone to locate the two swimmers stated that the entire mission from launch to the flotation device being dropped took less than 2 minutes, and would have taken a lifeguard at least a few minutes longer to perform the same task. And as we all know, minutes can prove vital when lives are at stake.
What makes ‘Little Ripper’s’ so efficient?
These drones are equipped with floating pods that can be dropped at any location and from a safe height, and with a full two hours of battery life from one single charge. Each Little Ripper also comes with GPS beacons attached, and artificial intelligence to track sharks in dangerous waters. Pretty remarkable, and easy to see why other countries might want to start using these drones to aid in rescues, too.
Drones are set to change the future and the way we respond to emergency calls, whether it be out at sea or halfway up a mountain, and while a mere 40 drones were shipped to coastguard centre’s all over Australia, this number is sure to increase, and the investment looks set to be a sound one.