In the video, a microdrones md4-1000 UAV delivers a compact flotation device to a drowning man, which he clings on to before being rescued by a lifeguard. The drone is equipped with an imaging camera that streams live to a second lifeguard operating the UAV, allowing them to easily see the precise location to drop the flotation device.
Microdrones has revealed that its goal in creating its water rescue solution was two-fold. First, to speed up the response rate and to reach the victim with help more quickly. And second, to reduce the victim’s panic level, since, according to the company, this can be the greatest obstacle to saving someone. The idea is that the drone is able to reach the drowning person much more quickly by flying over the water than the lifeguard swimming through the water, buying the victim time.
The company has described the quadcopter as being ‘highly effective for water rescue’, adding that the UAV is able stay in position over the water in strong winds.
On 22 July, microdrones demonstrated the kit in the Elbe River for an audience of lifeguards, water rescue leaders, firefighters, police officers and locals. “One of the greatest obstacles to rescuing a drowning swimmer is that they panic and we often can’t reach them in time,” said Robert Rink from German lifeguard association DLRG Horneburg/Altes Land e.V. “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.”
CEO of microdrones Sven Juerss said the company is proud to be able to share the new product with the world: “It is our hope that decision-makers at lifeguarding organisations, cruise lines, and other aquatic operations will view the video and be empowered to use technology to save lives,” he said. “We want to raise awareness of the vast life-saving potential of unmanned aerial vehicles.”