Long-range drones fly further for longer to save lives
Specialised long-range drones designed to improve responses to emergency situations, natural disasters and enhance safety both off the coast and along our beaches, will be trialled by Surf Life Saving NSW on the far north coast next month.
The Long-Range Uncrewed Aerial Vehicle (UAV) project, funded by the NSW Government Department of Primary Industries, will explore how the existing surveillance program could be extended to cover more of the NSW coastline.
The project will also trial how this new generation of drone could be used in other situations to enhance public safety away from the coast, such as during flood and bushfire emergencies as well as search and rescue operations.
The trial will simulate real-life scenarios, with the aim of safely operating different types of drones that are capable of flying further and for longer, by operating beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS).
Surf Life Saving NSW currently provides the largest coastal UAV surveillance program in the Southern Hemisphere.
Surf Life Saving’s drone capability was used extensively during last year’s floods, helping to give the NSW SES a more complete picture of the disaster unfolding across the state and where support to communities could be best directed.
NSW Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib said:
“This is a really exciting project and could prove to be a game-changer in the way our emergency services respond to a whole range of public safety services, from shark management to fire and floods to search and rescue operations. The possibilities are endless.”
“We know the people of Surf Life Saving NSW have the skills and experience to keep us safe in the water, but these long-range drones will help explore new ways of keeping our beaches safe in a cost-effective way, by using technology to its full advantage.”
Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Steve Pearce said:
“We see the potential for a long-range capability to enhance not only our shark surveillance work, but also give our emergency services the ability to reduce their response time to incidents and provide greater situational awareness in so many other situations.”
“Expanding our drone capability gives us greater ‘eyes in the sky’ and has the potential to help us save more lives."
“We’re really excited to see how the trial goes, how the various types of drones perform and what the future might hold for our use of this sort of technology.”