Developer reveals plans for emergency response drone

A GROUNDBREAKING plan to see the Westpac Little Ripper Lifesaver drone technology deliver blood and medical supplies is being developed in Norwest.

Jake McCallum, Hills Shire Times

September 18, 2018 12:00am

The unmanned drone program, the brainchild of developers Mulpha Norwest and The Ripper Group, is being explored following the success of the Westpac Little Ripper shark spotting technology.

The drone would provide emergency first aid response — including the delivery of emergency medical supplies such as defibrillators, blood and antivenene — to first aid personnel.

It could also be used to monitor traffic and security and manage crowd control during major events.

Mulpha development general manager Tim Spencer told the Hills Shire Times the program was a step towards a “smart city” reality for Norwest.

“The technology is already here, so it is a matter of understanding it and planning for it in a strategic way, so that all issues are considered, proper testing and pilot programs are conducted and its method of development has the support of the community,” Mr Spencer said.

“Given that one of the first aims of this initiative is to enhance the capabilities of our emergency services through working in unison with the Westpac Life Saver Helicopter, we hope that the program can get off the ground as soon as possible.”

Mr Spencer revealed testing was already underway, but he encouraged residents and businesses within the precinct to get involved in the planning program.

“The smarts of the technology does not mean anything if the drone cannot help a community improve liveability,” he said.

“We are particularly looking at how we can leverage this technology to give us insights into the operation of the city from heat mapping and traffic monitoring to service and product delivery.”

The Ripper Group director Harold Weldon said the technology abided by Australian Civil Aviation Authority (CASA) regulations.

“The key of our humanitarian work, especially with our work with the Westpac Little Ripper Lifesaver drone saving lives … is to enhance public trust and to build a sense of safety and community,” he said.

Mr Weldon said the company would continue to work with the University of Technology, Sydney to develop localised systems, while training emergency response units to interact with drones.

“The crowd control potential of drones can probably be most easily expressed as a movable eye in the sky that can provide the emergency services live insights into potential overcrowding scenarios, boundary patrol or control,” he said.

“The crowd control platform can also evolve work to ‘de-escalate’ situations before they develop with various technologies supported by a drone platform.”

The drones will be on display as part of Mulpha’s Norwest Smart City festival at Bella Vista Farm Park on Sunday September 23, from 12pm to 9pm.

 

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