Simulation Success: Microdrones demonstrates how drones can improve water rescue

Sixty seconds. That’s how long it takes for an adult to drown. For a child, it takes only thirty seconds. Can drones help prevent such unthinkable tragedy? On Friday, July 22, 2016, Microdrones showed that the answer to this question is ‘yes.’

As a crowd looked on from the banks of the Elbe River, Microdrones and the DLRG Horneburg (a German Lifeguard Association) demonstrated a new approach to water rescue that will buy the victim valuable time.

During the simulation, a specially trained lifeguard flew a drone to a person in the water. Because the UAV was equipped with a camera, the lifeguard was able to see from the drone’s point of view in real time and easily locate the drowning person. The lifeguard then dropped a compact flotation device called a RESTUBE from the drone to the victim. The RESTUBE instantly inflated and the person was able to stay afloat until help arrived.

Having witnessed first-hand the life-saving potential of this application, onlookers were first struck silent and then erupted into applause. Several lifeguards, UAV engineers, firefighters, and police personnel were among those in attendance.

“To be successful, water rescues need to happen very rapidly,” said Sven Juerss, Business Development Manager of Microdrones. “A drone can reach a person in distress more quickly by air than a lifeguard can by going through the water. And when a person is panicking, as is usually the case in these emergencies, the RESTUBE is a game-changer.”

The quadcopter drone used in this simulation was the Microdrones md4-1000. This UAV is equipped with special motors and a carbon fiber body that allow it to stay in position and stand up to rough winds over large bodies of water.

Microdrones, the DLRG, and RESTUBE plan to continue their collaborative efforts to ensure this important new approach to rescue is perfected and implemented.