Michael Bruce “Mike” Baird recently announced a helicopter-like drone named Little Ripper. He has called this shark spotting drone to be the future of rescue in New South Wales (NSW).
On Sunday, Mr Baird launched the trial of this unmanned vehicle which he envisions to be an accessible technology for every surf club in a short span of time. The trial was initiated at Westpac Lifesaver helicopter base in La Perouse. The cost for this is $250,000.
Img Source: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au
Features of the drone Little Ripper
- The drone Little Ripper has been made in the United States and is being developed by Newcastle firm Skyline.
- This military grade Vapor 55 drone is more stable and vigorous in cross winds than the regular drones.
- It is cheaper than helicopter rescue.
- Also, it’s agiler as compared to the helicopter rescue.
- The drone Little Ripper can carry a pod tailor-made for rescue on land, in marine or snow. The pod can be dropped to the people in trouble.
- For each kind of operation, the pod carries a different set of rescue material for example, for marine rescue; the pod carries life rafts and a locator beacon.
- The drone can operate up to 1 hour with one full charge.
- It’s equipped with a high-tech camera that can be used for shark spotting.
- The software algorithm to be used for shark spotting is still under development.
If the trial goes successful, a Little Ripper might be attached to each helicopter rescue operation. A training academy is under development to teach life savers to use this technology.
Why does it look like a helicopter?
The peculiar thought that crosses everyone’s mind is why it seems so close to a helicopter. The drone Little Ripper was developed under a vision to have a drone that “looks like a helicopter, flies like a helicopter and saves like a helicopter.”
Shape like a helicopter offers superior stability as well as familiarity.
The project is under trial. When asked about funding, we couldn’t find much that was given away in the press release. Perhaps, it is still too early to spill the beans. We’re eagerly waiting and hoping for the success of this new trial. It can be great news for rescue operations.