This is an amazing new use for drones — lifeguards.
As obvious a use as it sounds, this is the first instance we’ve seen of it so far. According to this report in Slate, a pilot project in Chile is testing drones to assist lifeguards in rescue. The drones are deployed from the lifeguard station with a life vest. They report that the drones reach victims within an average of 30 seconds, about “three minutes faster than standard response from human lifeguards.”
The drones are also “equipped with external speakers to give instructions or reassurance to swimmers, and they have video cameras so lifeguards on the shore can see what’s going on and where to drop flotation devices. At night, the drones’ LED fixtures can illuminate a victim in the water,” according to Slate.
Watch the video of how it works, courtesy of the AP: