SARA new drone project to save lives at sea

The semi-autonomous tethered drone of SARA (Search And Rescue Aid using   high-accuracy EGNSS) is its new project that has been developed for Search and Rescue (SAR) and Surveillance operations and has come out to be a very efficient and great solution because of the drone’s high accuracy, extended flight time providing the 24 hours solution during the operation.

This tethered drone offers the extended observation of horizon, increased flight time and allow the user to fully concentrate on the rescue mission and especially during the hours of darkness the drone support the vessels for the detection of lost people in the sea.

 Composition of the system:

  • Tethered multi-copter drone: equipped with two interchangeable payloads with up to 180x optical /digital zoom or high resolution cameras and a thermal infrared for night vision.
  • Hanger: A ground station customized for tethered search and rescue and continuous surveillance operations which provide unlimited power to drone.
  • A user terminal: The front end of the SARA system is installed on a Pickup Vehicle or a Vessel’s Bridge for surveillance applications.

Major benefits of the system:

  • High accuracy GNSS receivers: The system uses Galileo-enabled GNSS receivers for target identification, localisation and for navigation and control providing high-accuracy at the decimeter level. These two high-accuracy Galileo GNSS receivers allows accurate and a reliable following mode without giving mechanical stress to the cable.

The GSA Head of Market Development Fiammetta Diani said, “Search and rescue is a core service of the Galileo programme. By taking advantage of Galileo’s accuracy to assist in rescue operations and help save lives, innovative solutions like those offered by SARA project are at the heart of the GSA’s mission of linking space to user needs.”

  • 24-hour solution: The SARA system offers a top view moving ‘eye’ which is installed on board of a ship, a car or any other ground or sea vehicle. Because of the synchronization of flight data with the HANGER, the drone autonomously follows the vehicle while moving.

The thermal infrared vision support rescuers operating at night which enable them to detect the lost people in the sea particularly during the time of darkness. During the course of project, the SARA system had undergone some tests for maritime Search and Rescue in day and night operations. In the night time, the survivors in the sea have been detected up to 700 meters away and also a 15 meter long boat has been identified 12 km away from the ship.

  • Secure communication: The data is transferred using wired interfaces which make the communications between Drone, the User terminal and Hangar totally secure.

The stakeholders of National Institute for Oceanography and Applied Geophysics (OGS) Italy have expressed their interest in SARA project for using the system to increase safety on icebreakers. The benefits which SARA offers have also got attention of its 22 supporting organizations all over the Europe for their needs. This project has successfully concluded the engineering stage and now the team is looking forward for commercialization and industrialization stage with the bright future ahead.