A pilot project at beaches in Chile is using remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver floatation devices to swimmers who are in danger. AETecno reports that the drones can fly about three-quarters of a mile (1,200 meters) and have GPS for alternative navigation. They are also equipped with external speakers to give instructions or reassurance to swimmers, and they have video cameras so lifeguards on the shore can see what’s going on and where to drop flotation devices. At night, the drones’ LED fixtures can illuminate a victim in the water.
In a rescue, a drone goes out to the victim, drops a floatation device, and then hovers, while a lifeguard actually swims to the scene. That way the floatation device gets there first and the drone can act as a marker for the lifeguard who is swimming out. So far in the pilot program the drones have been able to reach victims in 30 seconds on average, which is three minutes faster than standard response from human lifeguards.
Welcome to drone day on the Adafruit blog. Every Monday we deliver the latest news, products and more from the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), quadcopter and drone communities. Drones can be used for video & photography (dronies), civil applications, policing, farming, firefighting, military and non-military security work, such as surveillance of pipelines. Previous posts can be found via the #drone tag and our drone / UAV categories.