A Brisbane-based aerospace company founded by engineer Joe Bryant has developed a new drone that is tipped to ‘revolutionise’ the way search and rescue operations are performed in life-threatening conditions.
Called SARGO (‘Search and Rescue Go), the unmanned surface vehicle (USV) has been created by aerospace company Aeromech, which claims the invention is a world-first and hopes it will save many Australian lives.
SARGO, which will be manufactured in Queensland next year, has been designed to be dropped from search and rescue aircraft and land safely on the top of the ocean’s surface using a parachute.
It can then be operated to remotely transport life-saving cargo to a stricken vessel, or help rescue survivors in the water.
“Over the last year, the Australian Marine Safety Authority (AMSA) has responded to 390 incidents and saved over 199 lives - a statistic we hope to support with the use of SARGO,” Aeromech founder Bryant said.
“Existing technology doesn’t allow for a device to be dropped from a search and rescue aircraft using a parachute, carry a lifesaving package onboard, and then remotely navigate to the people in need at the same range that SARGO can.
“That’s what makes SARGO a very exciting development for rescue services.”
The invention was the result of Bryant responding to an expression of interest by the AMSA which was looking for a remotely operated vehicle that could be dropped from an aircraft and land on water.
It is also the culmination of more than a decade of experience in the aerospace engineering space, with Bryant having worked at Airbus for 13 years.
Vessel maintenance company Noakes Group CEO Sean Langman said he was impressed by SARGO, in particular its design, capability and potential.
“We believe SARGO has the potential to change the way we address search and rescue operations, both domestically and internationally,” Langman said.
“SARGO is a product that can fill the gap that currently exists within the search and rescue market.
“We will continue to support Joe wherever possible, supporting young Australian companies to show their initiative and innovation to ensure the lives of those at sea have access to technology such as SARGO.”
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