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HELPER and Breeze Bird – Drone As Lifeguard To Save Drowning Swimmers

Drones are known for their speed and agility, making them the best candidate to save lives. While we normally hear that UAVs are typically sent for land relief missions, the HELPER and the Breeze Bird drone have been chosen to fight at sea.

HELPER drone – reliable and effective

In the beaches of Biscarrosse (Landes), France, the HELPER drone is sent to save lives of drowning swimmers, which proves to be more efficient than waiting for a lifeguard or someone to rescue the victim. Fabien Farge, maritime emergency doctor of the resort, and Gerald Dumartin, head of Terra Drone, mapped and developed the HELPER drone. The flight testing was a success, which involves throwing an inflatable buoy to the drowning person, and shooting the scene with their aerial camera to analyse the drowning state.

The HELPER drone have a continuous flight time of 15-25 minutes, which is more than enough to complete a trip to save the victim. The drone is also equipped with parachutes, in case the drone fails its task and also to avoid hitting the drowning person below.

Check out the HELPER demonstration video:

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Flight testing at Biscarosse, France beach

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HELPER drone flight testing

Breeze Bird: Equipped with night vision cameras

Iran were faced with a tragic water incident, drowning six innocent lives. This motivated three Iran graduate students from New Brunswick University in Canada to develop something more efficient than any lifeguard rescue tools – the Breeze Bird drone.

The Breeze Bird drone with a mounted buoy is equipped with heat sensors and night vision cameras to improve search and rescue missions effectively. Breeze Bird drone is able to fly 75 meters off shore, and is also 80% faster than a lifeguard from reaching the victim.

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Two of the developers of Breeze Bird

Drones – difficulty in replacing lifeguards

Even though the effectiveness and reliability of the UAV to promptly send in buoys to victims, a lifeguard is also a must in bringing in the victim on shore. Drones cannot entirely replace lifeguards in saving lives off land.

One of the developers of Breeze Bird, Amir Teheri, stresses that UAVs will never replace lifeguards, they are only aimed ‘to gain time before the lifeguards arrive’.

Zeng, a lifeguard supervisor, who participated in the HELPER flight test also pointed out that drones is just a ‘fast rescue program’.

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