Australia is about to get a powerful new weapon in the battle for saving lives on the coast – it’s very own shark-hunting drone.
The Westpac Search Life Saver search and rescue organisation is about to take delivery of a “Little Ripper” drone, a £180,000 military-spec aircraft that will be hunting the New South Wales coastline for increased shark activity.
Equipped with a camera that’ll use specialised software designed for recognising sharks the drone will then check the surrounding area for any human activity and then log the sighting.
As well as being a lookout, the drone’s cargo can carry multiple ‘pods’ from essential life-saving equipment including an inflatable raft and first aid kit to a deployable ‘shark repellent’.
The hope is that by reducing the requirements on human staff the drone can either deal with less severe emergencies or act as a first responder giving those in need a head start before the search and rescue helicopter can arrive.
Despite the name the drone is actually a repurposed Vapor 55 military-grade drone developed by Phoenix Systems. It’s powerful enough to fly for over an hour and can even reach an altitude of 10,000ft above sea level.
The drone is incredibly simple to fly as well thanks to a touchscreen compatible interface.
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