German drone manufacturer microdrones is teaming up with the nation’s largest lifeguard association to help save swimmers from drowning.
In July, the Hamburg-based company recently collaborated with DLRG Horneburg/Altes Land e.V. and deployed a UAV loaded with a compact rescue device in a simulated crisis.
During the demonstration, a microdrones md4-1000 model dropped the device – known as RESTUBE – over a swimmer “in distress” in a nearby lake. The swimmer grabbed the device and floated on it until “rescuers” arrived.
“An adult drowns in approximately 60 seconds and a child in only 30. All too often, this is not enough time for the victim to be reached by a lifeguard,” said RESTUBE CEO Christopher Fuhrhop in a press release.
“Flying over the water is a much quicker way to reach the victim. By combining UAVs and RESTUBE flotation devices, we are able to buy the drowning person valuable time that could very well mean the difference between life and death.”
“This quadcopter drone features specially developed motors, carbon fiber housing, highly efficient batteries, and an integrated GPS system that allow the UAV to fly and stay in position in strong winds over the water,” a microdrones spokesperson added.
The md4-1000 carries a high-resolution camera that can stream live video to a trained, drone-piloting lifeguard who can then easily target a distressed swimmer from the air.
“One of the greatest obstacles to rescuing a drowning swimmer is that they panic and we often can’t reach them in time,” said DLRG spokesperson Robert Rink. “After seeing what I saw here today, I have no doubt that drones will play a significant role in the near future of water rescue – and that we’ll see less fatalities as a result.”
In May, microdrones made headlines when the company merged with North American drone firm Avyon.
“We were very pleased today to be able to show off the potential of this approach to rescue,” said microdrones Sven Juerss. “Days like these are what motivate the team at microdrones to strive for new solutions.”