On 28 February 2016, Westpac formally announced their sponsorship of the trial of autonomous, long-range Little Ripper Lifesaver© unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for search and rescue.
This new sponsorship complemented Westpac’s existing 42-year sponsorship of the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Services (WLRHS) and further strengthened their commitment to supporting local communities and making Australia safer.
The trial involved remote control aircrafts initially patrolling a number of northern NSW coastlines and testing and fine-tuning capabilities to better determine the role of the UAVs in saving lives and helping to keep the community safe. As part of the trial, the Little Ripper Lifesaver UAVs sought to integrate with local emergency services including Surf Life Saving NSW.
In launching the Westpac Little Ripper Lifesaver sponsorship, Mr Brian Hartzer, Westpac’s Chief Executive Officer, said the investment was another way Westpac was supporting Australia as the company approaches its 200th anniversary in 2017. He said “this is innovation at its best that will lead to a safer Australia. For over 40 years, the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service has been a crucial community service in Australia, and we believe this investment in the Westpac Little Ripper Lifesaver technology has the potential to help save even more lives”.