If current technology trends are any indication, it’s possible that human lifeguards could be replaced by robots in the future.
So far, we’ve seen aremote-controlled rescue buoy and a salamander-like bot that travels on both water and land, among many others. Rather than having to cut through rough water to get to folks in trouble like many search and rescue robot designs, an Iranian research center proposes a quadcopter called Pars that launches from a floating platform and drops life preservers precisely where they’re needed.
RTS Lab began developing Pars to address the high number of drowning victims in the Caspian Sea along the Iranian coastline. After creating a short-range rescue bot to help people near beaches, the team set to work on an improved model with much better capabilities.
The Pars design calls for a lightweight quadcopter equipped with a slew of sensors, including accelerometers, gyroscopes, GPS, a barometer, and an electronic compass. It’s most distinguishing feature, however, is a series of latches underneath that can hold and release life preservers one at a time. The most recent design can hold three tubes at once, but the developers claim future models could stock over 15 by using a chemical material that expands the padding after release.
An operator would be able to remotely control the robots manually or an onboard artificial intelligence could allow it to act autonomously in certain situations. RTS Lab says it has made a point of keeping the controls simple, so that a rescue worker could learn to operate them with just a few days of training.
The group also designed a charging station that would use solar energy to recharge several Pars units when they are docked. The designers claim the platform could be attached to the top of a rescue boat or offshore structure and could even be modified into a standalone floating station. In the event of system failure or low power, the aerial bot floats in water even without the life preservers, so it can easily be recovered later.
via Gizmag – Jonathan Fincher
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