By Patrick Lazar, VP of Engineering at FreeWave Technologies
Drones have actually been around for quite some time, even though the recent “lift-off” of commercial applications has vaulted the technology further into the spotlight. I’ve started seeing some incredible uses of the technology and how not only businesses will benefit, but people as well.
For example, lifeguards and emergency responders have started flying drones as another means to quickly assist swimmers in trouble. By dropping a life jacket as soon as possible, distressed swimmers can get assistance quickly while further assistance is in pursuit of reaching the swimmer in the water.
In the same vein, another reason lifeguards are flying drones is to identify and monitor other threats to beachgoers such as sharks. This will lead into drones enabling automatic warning systems when sharks get closer to the swim zones, and warn lifeguards to deploy means to both repel sharks and notify others in the surrounding area.
Dropping life preservers are the most natural use case that comes into mind. However, once the use cases start being thought through with detection, prevention and lifesaving goals, a more intelligent system will be needed to sense events, deploy drones to assist, audible two way communication to help victims all the way through to safety, alert authorities to bring needed medical help to the closest recovery location and of course, warning other population nearby to prevent others falling victim to the same conditions.
In all these cases, visual, audio, sensor info, command and control information must be sent back and forth to the drone, which will require reliable, long range communications. Furthermore, the payloads of these communication devices must be light/small enough to not affect the drones performance.