Announcing The Ripper Rescue Alliance
In the wake of the devastation left behind by the unprecedented bushfires still raging across Australia people are mobilising and calling for action. Our volunteers and charities are pushed to their limits and everyone is asking ‘What can we do to help?’
The Ripper Rescue Alliance has been put together as a rapid response to the call for action and will have three core functional units: Operations, Research and Education.
The Alliance brings together some of the country’s leading specialists in search and rescue, drone operations, aerial mapping, AI analysis, data collection, processing and analytics to establish a groundbreaking, multi-faceted assistance response to the current need for bushfire recovery assistance.
In addition, the Ripper Rescue Alliance will be underpinned by leading academics, researchers, and scientists across a wide variety of sectors and institutions in order to drive the important longer-term vision.
The Ripper Rescue Alliance has been established by The Ripper Group with Founding Members, AUAV, and Swoop Aero.
“We come to this Alliance with an open collaborative spirit, and welcome all requests and opportunities for our support in Australia’s recovery.”
An impressive line up of expertise
The Ripper Rescue Alliance members represent expertise and experience in leading-edge technologies for data collection, remote identification of flora and fauna and research in both built and natural environments.
Our goal is to arm the experts in the field of bushfire crisis and recovery with the best tools available to empower and enhance their capabilities, expand their reach and provide data for actionable insights. We can do this through our joint expertise in bringing cost-effective, innovative and hi-tech solutions to focus on disaster and recovery.
The Ripper Rescue Alliance will keep evolving as more disciplines are gathered to complete the tasks and challenges given to us by front line services, our applications have the capabilities to assist in all area of rescue and recovery, from the local business level to regional areas and remote communities.
Launch Project: WIRES
Our first initiative will be working in collaboration with WIRES, Australia’s largest wildlife rescue organisation, to identify what sectors of their front line work we can embolden and fast-track using the Alliance’s expertise and solutions.
We’re delighted to support WIRES in helping our precious wildlife. Together with the Ripper Group – we’re bringing technology from the beach to the bush, to survey our environment, rescue injured wildlife and provide important intel on the state of their habitats. It is a fantastic example of organisations coming together and thinking outside the square to help some of our wildlife to recover.
Ross Miller, CEO of Bushfire Recovery at Westpac Group
All aspects of Bushfire Recovery
Together the Ripper Rescue Alliance has the capabilities to assist in all area of rescue and recovery, from the local business level, to regional areas and remote communities. Our group has the ability to map large areas for assessing fire impact, habitat renewal and to inform research into fire behaviour and fire ecology.
A strong vision for the future
We have a strong vision for how drone technology can be used to protect communities and their precious wild places, through fire mitigation and management strategies using wide-scale automated detection, front-line fire support and even autonomous fire-bombing aircraft. Our vision is to develop front line initiatives, managed locally, increasing effectiveness, and reducing risk to life.
The WIRES Project
Our first initiative will be working with WIRES, Australia’s largest wildlife rescue organisation, to identify what sectors of their front line work we can embolden and fast-track using the Alliance’s expertise and solutions.
“In this Ark called Australia we have some of the most unique creatures on earth, we must protect them. The Ripper Rescue Alliance will be part of the recovery story, joining the thousands of Australian’s out there, working together, to rescue, rebuild, repair, and safeguard the future of our precious wild things, Australians rise up and help each other in times of adversity, The Ripper Alliance is here for the long-haul, and all our members are committed to the work ahead.”
Kevin Weldon AM Founding Chairman – The Ripper Group
Our work will include potential recovery of native wildlife through the deployment of drones, fact-finding missions with visual and digital assessments of effected areas, research into known populations to try to assess the devastation and identify any wildlife that may still be caught in the area. Viability research will be undertaken to evaluate using drones as a possible rapid first response to dropping food and water into areas to support surviving wildlife affected by the fires where natural resources have been destroyed.
The Ripper Rescue Alliance has been established by The Ripper Group with Founding Members, Agronomeye, AUAV and Swoop Aero.
THE RIPPER GROUP
The Ripper Group was established in 2015 with the goal of saving lives by providing ‘eyes in the sky’ and rapid response rescue drones to enhance the capabilities of our Surf Lifesaving organisations
Since 2016, The Ripper Group was contracted by Westpac to research, develop, test and implement a drone strategy focused on the saving of lives in the marine environment, including shark mitigation technology and working with Surf Lifesaving organisations.
In 2018, through it’s Westpac Little Ripper Lifesaver program, in cooperation with Surf Lifesaving NSW and the Department of Primary Industries, the Ripper Group performed the world’s first rescue using a drone in the marine environment, when a life-saving inflatable was deployed to two young men caught in stormy seas off Lennox Head, NSW, Australia.
The Ripper Group’s award-winning Ai-enabled drones, with industry-leading, ultra-low latency live data streaming capabilities, are recognised world-wide and a testament to their expertise in collaborating with a wide range of contributors and partners. Working with UTS they have developed their Spotter Ai which can identify sharks, crocodiles and other fauna.
The Ripper Group are category leaders in drone rescue solutions, risk mitigation initiatives and disaster recovery applications. They are recognised by government, private sector, academic institutions and the general public alike as ‘the drones you can trust’.
“The Ripper Group was born out of crisis following the increase of shark attack and drownings on our beaches, our work has lead to ground-breaking research and specialist rescue know-how using Ai, machine learning and other industry leading technology. We are honoured to be given this opportunity to apply our specialist payload platforms to the challenges facing many of Australia’s grassroot rescue organisations both along our coastline and our vast interior.”
Ben Trollope – C.E.O. The Ripper Group
AUAV is an award-winning, ISO certified and internationally recognised drone services company, focused on providing accurate aerial survey, mapping, patrol and inspection data.
Founded in 2013, AUAV was one of the first companies to emerge in Australia’s new drone industry and is now well-established across the country with offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Hobart and several regional locations.
AUAV’s staff come from a wide range of backgrounds including civil engineers, inspectors, surveyors, remote sensing experts, aircraft designers and software engineers to bring a depth of knowledge to a wide range of applications.
Directors James Rennie and Andrew Chapman have considerable experience managing large multidisciplinary technical teams and have together built AUAV into a widely-recognised and respected leader in this new industry.
“We have a strong vision for the future and are excited by all the possibilities and efficiencies this new technology can bring to a wide range of sectors and projects including Australia’s current bushfire recovery and future firefighting efforts. We want to invest our time and expertise into long-term strategies for Australia’s fire management and recovery.” Andrew Chapman – Co-Director & CTO, AUAV.
Swoop Aero is an Australian company, based in Melbourne, that deploys safe, reliable and sustainable drone networks to move medical supplies. Their services have been used internationally by the UN, USAid and UKAid and others to transform the health supply chain in several countries. In the wake of the recent devastating bushfires, Swoop Aero wants to commence operations to help locally in Australia.
In 2017, Swoop Aero’s founders were asked a question: could a drone be used to transport chemotherapy medication in regional Australia? The simple answer was yes. Rapid advancements in the last 10 years in microelectronics and sensory systems have brought the technology to the point where this is possible. But the real question was: could a system be designed to deliver the medication by air – whilst being safe, reliable and cost-effective – every day of the week? Swoop Aero set about creating this system.
In 2018, the first child in the world received a vaccine delivered commercially by drone; one of Swoop Aero’s drones, to be precise. Swoop Aero is one of only a handful of companies globally with the expertise to build and operate an aeromedical logistics network using autonomous aircraft.
In 2020, a new question arose, could Swoop Aero join forces with other organisations and use its experience to help with the devastation caused by the Australian bushfires? The response was yes. In Malawi, Swoop Aero is working alongside UNICEF, FTL, and UKAID to gather aerial imagery alongside routine logistics operations to respond to disasters in flood-prone areas. And in Australia, Swoop Aero will be doing much the same: providing an agile platform for long-range data acquisition post-fire to facilitate wildlife habitat recovery monitoring. For Eric Peck, CEO and co-founder, technology and its application are a means to an end.
“When I first heard that half a billion animals perished in the bushfires, I was shocked. I can’t comprehend the scale of the disaster. I am glad that we have developed a platform that is impact-focused and delivers more than just burritos and coffees. It changes lives.” – Eric Peck, CEO and co-founder
Established in 2015, Agronomeye is digitising agriculture from the ground up, working with landowners of all types to deliver positive change through accurate and actionable imagery.
Agronomeye create a ‘Digital Twin’ of a property, provides a virtual testing ground for landowners to help them make informed decisions around managing their land such as water management strategies, development proposals, and financial feasibility and production assessments. Removing the guesswork for landowners is at the core of the Agronomeye business.
With a growing network across Australia, Agronomeye is working with landowners, management companies and agronomists to foster and educate stakeholders in the new digital arena of Agriculture.
Their ‘Digital Foundation’ is the blueprint of the modern age, allowing clients to generate significant value from their imagery by providing a detailed reference to measure progress.
“Our work with farmers has been focused on providing them with the tools to accurately manage and improve their lands production values, with a view for sustainable agriculture. We are excited by the long-term results of this specialist work which can be easily applied to the assessment and restoration of our fire-ravaged lands and communities” Tim Howel – Co-founder Agronomeye.
Aerometrex is a professional aerial mapping business established in 1980 and headquartered in South Australia. The company operates across Australia with certain key projects also executed internationally in France, Germany, New Zealand and the United States.
Aerometrex is a member of every state government’s panel of aerial photography providers and its key product lines include Aerial imagery and mapping, Aerial LiDAR surveys, 3D modelling and subscription-based service, Metromap. The company operates its own fleet of 8 fixed-wing aircraft and an in-house designed camera system, MetroCam, in addition to other cutting-edge technology.
Some of Aerometrex’s key strengths include high data quality, great accuracy, multiscale 3D modelling capability, historical data archives, and high standards of customer service. Collectively, the team at Aerometrex has over 770 years of combined industry experience, spread across a variety of areas including information technology, aerial surveying, general aviation, photogrammetry, LiDAR, project development, sales and marketing and accounting aspects of business.
Propeller is a global leader in 3D mapping and data analytics solutions that gives worksites the power to track, map and measure their earthwork projects visually.
Headquartered in Sydney, Australia, Propeller recognises the important role that UAV and 3D mapping technology can play in the assessment and recovery process for fire affected areas.
They are offering their photogrammetry processing and 3D mapping services at no cost to affected individuals, businesses, and organisations nationwide.
Our Community Partners
WIRES (NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc.)
WIRES has been rescuing and caring for wildlife for over 30 years and is the largest wildlife rescue organisation in Australia. They are passionate about supporting smaller volunteer organisation in the wildlife sector with the same mission, as well as universities, Veterinary Associations and other leading scientific and environmental groups.
In the last five years WIRES has been working with WWF, National Parks Association, Humane Society International, The Wilderness Society, Nature Conservation Council, Birdlife, RSPCA, Animal Welfare League and IFAW.
While WIRES presence is mostly in NSW they responding to more than 90,000 rescues each year, they also receive around 170,000 calls to their 1300 WIRES line annually, including thousands of interstate calls where they provide rescue advice.
WIRES also plays a major role in national community wildlife education. Normally WIRES has several hundred thousand unique visitors to their website annually but following the recent catastrophic fires, they have had over a million unique visitors in the last couple of days.
WIRES have over 2500 volunteers in 28 branches involved in the rescue and care of wildlife and a dedicated Rescue Office that operates 365 days a year assisting the community to help native animals in distress.
WIRES helps tens of thousands of animals every year, receiving up to 95,000 requests for rescue advice and assistance every 12 months.
Our Research Partners
QUEENSLAND UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY
“My team at QUT has been leading developments in the use of technology and drone monitoring in conservation. We’ve been creating cutting edge algorithms for the efficient automated detection of wildlife in complex environments using artificial intelligence. We’re passionate about wildlife conservation and excited by the opportunity to help injured animals and be part of longer term wildlife monitoring in areas devastated by bushfire.”
Associate Professor Grant Hamilton
Science and Engineering Faculty,Biology & Environmental Science. QUT