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Can Drones Save Lives?


There are a lot of concerns over technology overtaking human jobs, but in many cases, it’s actually helping humans be better at their jobs. One quick example is drone technology as used for disaster and emergency rescues. This technology has already been used to help find earthquake and hurricane survivors that are trapped or isolated in places that we can’t easily see,  but now drones are also being used to save lives at the beach! Listen to this Question Your World radio report produced by the Science Museum of Virginia to learn more.

Little Ripper, is an unmanned automated vehicle drone that was just tested off the coast of Australia. This robotic flying lifeguard is a result of the Australian government’s partnership with a private surfing and beach safety group.

Two teenagers were spotted about a 1/2 mile off the coast, struggling with turbulent 9 foot sweeps. Human lifeguards were able to quickly launch the drone, get to the distressed swimmers, and drop a flotation device thus saving their lives in under 70 seconds! They even have video proof of this awesome robotic rescue operation!

Not only can this drone drop a reusable flotation device, but it also comes equipped with a personal safety kit and an electromagnetic shark repellant. Initially, the primary goal was to monitor for sharks near the coast, but saving lives along the way is a pretty excellent side result as well…especially considering it was the drone’s first day on the job.

So what can we expect from this technology in the future? First of all, we can expect more beaches and safety organizations will take on this technology since the proof is no longer just theoretical. This event off Australia's coast is a great example of a theoretical ideal being turned into tangible proof. The two teenagers could be the first in many lives saved off the coast of the beaches around the world if this technology becomes more readily available.

Secondly, get ready for the eventual remake of Baywatch with an all drone cast! Just what everyone’s been waiting for…super attractive drones flying in slow mo across a beach. Move over Hasselhoff, there's a new lifeguard on duty!