Drones get a bad rap. They're only ever in the news as chilling robot-soldiers, sinister privacy-invaders or in the case of dronies, as responsible for making us even more narcissistic. What they're rarely credited with is saving lives.
Yet this footage from Peru of lifeguard drones, part of a project by Green Solution and X Cam, could be about to change that. The drones drop flotation devices for swimmers in trouble, travelling way faster than a lifeguard could ever swim, albeit accompanied by an annoying buzzing noise.
They can travel for 3/4 mile and have extra GPS for navigation. They also have speakers to reassure swimmers and their LED features could illuminate a swimmer at night to aid a rescue.
In the UK drowning kills an average of 160 people a year, that's more people than are killed in cycle accidents, with adult males accounting for two thirds of those deaths, according to the RNLI. Cold water shock is a common cause of drowning, as is rip currents and fatigue. So it would be amazing if drones could be deployed effectively to help UK lifeguards in the future.
Here's the video from the Peru test project: