New safety technology employs drones

The AR5 drone is equipped with optical and infrared cameras, a maritime radar, an AIS receiver, and an emergency position-indicating radio beacon antenna.
The AR5 drone is equipped with optical and infrared cameras, a maritime radar, an AIS receiver, and an emergency position-indicating radio beacon antenna.
The AR5 drone is equipped with optical and infrared cameras, a maritime radar, an AIS receiver, and an emergency position-indicating radio beacon antenna.

Lisbon, Portugal-based unmanned aerial systems developer TEKEVER has successfully deployed a life raft from an AR5 drone. 

The innovative technology was demonstrated during a recent search and rescue exercise conducted by the Italian Coast Guard in partnership with the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).

The AR5 drone, equipped with optical and infrared cameras, a maritime radar, an AIS receiver, and an emergency position-indicating radio beacon antenna, “showcased its ability to deploy a lifeboat with a capacity of up to eight people with high precision,” the company said. 

The fully automatic operation of the drone relies on onboard sensors to detect vessels or people in the water. Utilizing AI, the drone calculates the optimal time to release the lifeboat close to the vessel or person in distress without human intervention, enabling the lifeboat to be deployed at a close enough, but safe, distance. 

The system “automatically evaluates weather conditions and flight plan restrictions, allowing the lifeboat to be easily deployed in a wide range of situations, close to a vessel or person without human intervention, ensuring a timely and safe deployment in a wide range of emergency situations,” TEKEVER said. 

The company, in collaboration with CLS, has been providing EMSA with maritime surveillance solutions using drones as a service since 2016 – a cost-effective solution that “has already proven its efficiency, with nearly 2,000 hours of flights and almost 300 missions conducted across Portugal, Italy, Spain, France, and the United Kingdom,” it added.