Police in California tests the use of drones as lifeguards

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The San Mateo Sheriff’s Office is testing the use of drones as lifeguards. In 2019 and 2020 the San Mateo sheriff’s office responded to double the number of water rescues than it had in past years. And in the first month of 2021, two people drowned.

Rather than diving into the water to rescue people in distress, the drones will be used to carry and drop life jackets into the water. To carry and drop life jackets, the sheriff’s office uses a unique payload that holds the life jacket in place. Once the pilot wants to drop the life jacket, they can do so by pressing a button on the remote control.

Using a drone to get a life jacket to a distressed person in the water is generally faster than swimming out to rescue them. According to the sheriff’s office, once officers arrive on the scene they can get a drone with the special life jacket payload in the air in just a few minutes. The drone can act as a first responder, getting a distressed swimmer the help they need right away so they can stay afloat until someone gets there to provide further assistance.

Another way drones have been helping keep the oceans safe for people in California is by spotting sharks from the sky. A project called SharkEye based at U.C. Santa Barbara has been using drones to monitor the ocean for sharks.

Source:  SharkEye

The approach is currently manual, with pilots manually flying drones and looking for sharks in the water, then reporting the day’s findings through radio broadcasts. However, researchers are working on a system that will combine AI and drone technology to automate the entire process, from the drone flights through to the analysis of the visual data, so that reports can be automatically created that will identify the presence of sharks in the ocean.

These promising projects can help lifeguards to increase the safety of swimmers and to save more lives.

(Source: https://uavcoach.com/drone-lifeguards/)


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