Gold Coast Bulletin
August 22, 2019
NEW drone technology giving back vital seconds to lifesavers has been unveiled on a Gold Coast beach.
The technology, part of a partnership between tech giant Amazon Web Services and rescue drone company Westpac Little Ripper, cuts the time it takes to stream drone footage back to the pilot, potentially saving lives.
Usually the delay between the drone’s camera and the pilot’s screen on the ground is 8-10 seconds.
The upgrade cuts the delay to less than a second, meaning the drone no longer has to circle back once it spots a swimmer in distress or a shark near a surfer.
Flight operations manager Mark Phillips said the Westpac Little Ripper was at the forefront of drone technology .
“It’s an amazing technology going forward where you can come down to the beach, jump on an app, check what the drones are seeing,” he said.
“What’s really on the boil now is the SharkSpotter, CrocSpotter, DistressSpotter, RipSpotter. We can feed the tech anything we want to detect and it will automatically come up on our screen.
“It means the pilot can have their eyes off the screen as they should when they’re flying, and still be alerted to a danger in the water.”
More than 1200 experts from the healthcare, education, space and science sectors got their first look at the technology yesterday when the drone took off from Tallebudgera.
The drone made the trip out over Burleigh Heads, streaming live to a major public sector summit in Canberra .
The live stream marked the launch of a new app, providing the technology to first responders from this Friday and the public the following week.
Amazon Web Services’ head of solutions architecture for Australia and New Zealand , Simon Elisha said the TRG Ai app sent the drone footage direct to mobile phones.
“Today was a world first,” Mr Elisha said. “It was super smooth and super high-performance .
“The technology relies upon huge amounts of computing capabilities to figure out, and what we were able to do is help Little Ripper get access to that.
“The app means you can see all the footage on your phone, and it’s the AWS technology that’s allowed you to have that shark-detecting capability.”