microdrones Lifeguard Drone Makes a Huge Splash

Photo courtesy of microdrones

Photo courtesy of microdrones

A German drone manufacturer is using the power of viral video to tout its new water-rescue drone that has already made a splash in the eyes of the nation’s lifeguards.

This past week, microdrones released a new video depicting a German lifeguard locating a “drowning” swimmer after deploying microdrones md4-1000 quadcopter and dropping a small floatation device – known as RESTUBE – over a swimmer “in distress” in a Hamburg-area lake. The swimmer grabbed the device and floated on it until “rescuers” arrived.

The publicized video release is another step the UAV firm is taking to dive into the drone-based search-and-rescue sector. In July, microdrones announced a partnership with DLRG Horneburg/Altes Land e.V., Germany’s largest lifeguard association, and staged an initial demonstration similar to last week’s exercise.

“After seeing what I saw today, I have no doubt that drones will play a significant role in the near future of water rescue – and that we’ll see [fewer] fatalities as a result,” DLRG Horneburg  official Robert Rink said in a company press release.

“We are so proud to be able to share this life-saving application with the world,” microdrones CEO Sven Juerss, added. “It is our hope that decision-makers at lifeguarding organizations, cruise lines, and other aquatic operations will view the video and be empowered to use technology to save lives. We want to raise awareness of the vast life-saving potential of unmanned aerial vehicles.”

Deploying a rescue drone to a drowning swimmer can reduce response time from several minutes to one or two. By the time a lifeguard arrives at the rescue location, swimmers will have already started to panic. Sending a drone can assure the swimmer that help is on the way and the drone-dropped rescue device allows the swimmer a measure of buoyancy until the lifeguard arrives with a larger life preserver.

“If the victim is able to remain calm, the rescue is far less complicated and dangerous – and much more likely to succeed,” Juerss said.

The concept of a UAV lifeguard’s helper is catching on at beaches across the globe. Last year, Brazil’s Copacabana Maritime Association announced a similar drone-rescue program targeting the Ipanema and Copacabana beach areas of Rio de Janeiro. Authorities said rescue workers will launch drones equipped with hi-res cameras and life preservers to save distressed swimmers.

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