In the immediate aftermath of the devastating typhoon Katrina that destroyed most of New Orleans in 2005,Kevin Weldon, the founder of Little Ripper Lifesaver, observed an unmanned drone helicopter flying along flooded streets searching for survivors. This was the first deployment of drones in a disaster and they were instrumental in helping to find some 5000 people, stranded and alive in their flooded homes. The unmanned drones sent pictures back to the Central Control which were then able to dispatch rescue teams to those in trouble.
Kevin, the founding president of International Lifesaving, immediately set about working on the possibility of developing a search and rescue service in Australia using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). After a decade of efforts, he was finally able to assemble the right people and resources to make it happen. The major turning point was the financial support of Westpac Banking Corporation for an initial six months’ trial along the NSW coast, initially utilising military grade, single rotor unmanned helicopters.
And so Little Ripper Lifesaver was born.
The Ripper Group has established a number of commercial UAV businesses recognising that UAV and related payload technologies are economic game-changers, transforming the way business is done.
With the capabilities and benefits of UAV’s now getting the attention of industries worldwide, the Ripper Group has positioned itself to meet the growing demand for commercial UAV services. In doing so, the Group has assessed the UAV application opportunities and technology needs across a diverse range of industries and is progressively rolling out services to capture the opportunities.