01 Aug Drones to ‘bomb sharks’ for safety to keep swimmers and surfers safe
Jack Houghton, Exclusive, Gold Coast Bulletin
August 19, 2016 12:00am
SURF Lifesavers will soon be dropping pulsating “bombs” to scare off sharks as part of a hi-tech bid to protect swimmers and surfers on our beaches.
Lifesavers will be trained to fly the drones which will carry — among an arsenal of potentially life-saving equipment — Shark Shield devices, which emit electric pulses which irritate a shark’s delicate senses and causes it to flee.
While it may sound like something from a science fiction movie, from as early as next month the drones will begin flying at Surf Lifesaving Clubs across the state, and could eventually also be used by Life Guards.
Surf Life Saving NSW will first test the drones on the north coast, where two people died and several others were severely injured in shark attacks last summer.
If successful, the trial will be broadened to Sydney before being rolled out nationwide — potentially by the end of the year.
The drones are also capable of dropping flotation devices — capable of supporting three people — into the water and also carry defibrillators to paramedics in hard-to-reach spots.
The drone will also revolutionise night searches for lost swimmers with a 360-degree night vision video relay attached to its hub.
The drones were developed by The Ripper Group in a $100 million deal with Chinese developers JTT Technology.
International Life Saving Federation founder Kevin Weldon set up The Ripper Group with the specific aim to deploy the drones at lifesaving clubs all over the country.
Their original drones are already being used by lifesavers to spot sharks but the newest models will be the first to actively scare them away.
Drone development is quickly becoming one of the most lucrative industries in the world.
It is valued at $165 billion globally and market intelligence firm Tractica predicts annual revenue will eclipse $12 billion within a decade. #littleripper #littelripperlifesaver