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Pars life-saving flying robot is now a reality

By

November 19, 2013

RTS Lab has successfully tested a prototype of its Pars aerial robot, a drone that flies o...

RTS Lab has successfully tested a prototype of its Pars aerial robot, a drone that flies out over large bodies of water to drop life preservers near drowning victims

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Earlier this year, RTS Lab unveiled its concept for Pars, an aerial robot that flies out over a large body of water to air-drop life preservers near drowning victims. Like many design concepts, we weren't sure if this life-saving drone would ever become a reality, but it seems the Iran-based company was recently able to fund a working prototype and even test its capabilities in open water. Based on these initial tests, it's possible that this flying, GPS-guided lifeguard could be out there saving lives sooner than you think.

Over the course of four days in August of this year, the Pars development team visited the Caspian Sea to conduct a battery of tests on its brand new prototype. The location was chosen in part for its proximity to the RTS lab, but also because it's been the site of several tragic drownings in the past few years, including an incident that took the lives of six students this past summer. Among other attributes, the team tested the Pars' stability during flight, the accuracy of the life preserver release mechanism, and the bot's performance in both day and nighttime conditions. According to the researchers at RTS Labs, the prototype bot met their expectations perfectly.

The Pars was able to fly for 10 minutes at a top speed of 10 m/s (22.4 mph) before needing to recharge. This gives it a maximum range of 4.5 km (2.8 miles), making it ideal for emergencies occurring along coastlines and near ships at sea. It also proved to have a distinct advantage over its flesh and blood counterparts, since it can bypass treacherous waters with ease.

When conducting a trial rescue mission, the drone was able to reach a target 75 m (246 ft) away and drop its payload in about 22 seconds, while a human lifeguard took 91 seconds to swim to the same location. During testing at night, the Pars was also able to illuminate targets on the ground and make itself more visible to its controller on land using several bright LEDs.

RTS Lab has pointed out that the drone's fast speed combined with a capacity for several l...

RTS Lab has pointed out that the drone's fast speed combined with a capacity for several life preservers means it could attend to multiple people in one trip. With its built-in GPS, it can even be programmed to fly to a certain area, dispense life preservers to anyone in danger, and then automatically return to its base. Of course, the aerial bot won't be able to pull anyone to safety just yet, but it could be sent out ahead of rescue crews to provide some initial aid. The researchers are also hoping it could give emergency teams a birds-eye view of the situation and help them plot a safe path to where they need to go.

With such an important job on its shoulders, RTS Lab wants to make sure that the Pars functions as well as possible before attempting to distribute it internationally. The company hopes to refine its current design based on these trials and possibly add some more features, though it is still looking for further funding to make this possible.

Besides increasing its speed and range, the group has considered redesigning the drone so it can land on the water in an emergency and outfitting it with an artificial intelligence that processes images and sound to locate people in trouble. Presumably, if they receive the necessary funding, the designers may also construct an off-shore landing platform for multiple Pars drones, which was outlined in the original concept.

Until we hear more on the project though, you can check out the video below to see the Pars robot racing against a human lifeguard (the actual footage begins at 25 seconds).

Source: RTS Lab

About the Author
Jonathan Fincher Jonathan grew up in Norway, China, and Trinidad before graduating film school and becoming an online writer covering green technology, history and design, as well as contributing to video game news sites like Filefront and 1Up. He currently resides in Texas, where his passions include video games, comics, and boring people who don't want to talk about either of those things.   All articles by Jonathan Fincher
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12 Comments

Great thinking & great use. Wonderful. So good you have to ask how come this was not being done already, and why one's self did not think of it.

Dave B13
19th November, 2013 @ 06:51 am PST

I believe a lifeguard on a jet ski would be possibly faster, much more reliable and probably more cost effective and does not even take into account weather not to mention if the victim is unable to assist once help arrives.

Rehab
19th November, 2013 @ 07:19 am PST

2.8 miles is not very far considering. I would think adding a tether spool between the drone and the drone pad would add retrieval ability. It should only take one or two hundred pound break strength to pull the victims to shore so should not add a huge weight to the drone especially using the newer advanced fibers like Zylon or Spectra.

So to summarize: Follow the makers idea and make the drone float, attach the drone to shore with a shore mounted reel, attach the life preservers to the drone with generous line and then reel the whole thing in once the victims are aboard the preservers.

VirtualGathis
19th November, 2013 @ 11:58 am PST

Rehab

I can see from the video that it is faster then a jet ski when you consider launching the jetski and new jet ski's start at about $12,000. This would be easier to store and set up.

A windy day could be a problem though.

The Hoff
19th November, 2013 @ 09:04 pm PST

new toy for the NSRI?

Peter Jacops
20th November, 2013 @ 01:36 am PST

Life saving robot sounds great.

But this a DRONE, that is controlled by a life-guard.

So you need an extra person to control the drone.

And when do many problems occur? When the weather turns bad.

Then this light-weight flying drone can be very dangerous, and might even injure people.

Still nice idea.

Joost de Nijs
20th November, 2013 @ 03:04 am PST

Who will rescue the rescuer?

My feeling is that the Pars will no stay airborn in strong winds It will be flattened to the surface.

jochair
20th November, 2013 @ 04:21 am PST

Not so many swimmers go out in rough weather.

A thin but strong line could be attached to the drone, then the swimmer in distress could be hauled back to safety.

windykites1
20th November, 2013 @ 06:10 am PST

What good does it do to drop life preservers to victims of drowning? If you have drowned, you have already died.

DiverMan
20th November, 2013 @ 08:43 am PST

Didn't see it in the article, but it doesn't appear as though these life preservers were each equipped with a GPS device and a blinking water-proof light. Those would be crucial in an emergency situation where current and weather were a factor.

jingleburp
20th November, 2013 @ 09:40 am PST

@DiverMan:

Er...well, yes, but I think most of us could work out that the writer was really talking about people who were at _risk_ of drowning rather than those who had already popped their clogs?

dalroth5
22nd November, 2013 @ 11:28 am PST

A jet ski could never deploy as quick,as a multicopter could.They can be in the air within a second. No preflight checks,its on and fly. I expect to see, both single pilot and larger multicopters flying within the next 10 years.Simplicity,low cost,easy maintenance,no expensive hardware, pitch control etc[[they can be fitted with a ballistic chute] and the ability to fly on fewer then all the motors.It's a win ,win.Low speed ,low altitude,safe and cheap,they will be everywhere.

Thomas Lewis
7th January, 2014 @ 06:51 am PST
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