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Drone lifeguards on the way during an emergency

posted on 09/09/2014: 2567 views

A team of five students from the Ajman University of Science and Technology (AUST) has successfully designed a drone to save human lives during emergencies.

Showcasing the drone, Professor Mustahsan Mir from the university said the final design would be capable of throwing a lifebuoy if a person is drowning.

"The drone is only limited by human imagination. We can use it in different scenarios and improve the response time of civil defence services,” said Professor Mir.

Flying from a base station, the prototype functions on auto pilot and beams video in real time, showing the scale and magnitude of a crisis. Once the GPS co-ordinates are programmed, the drone flies to the accident site and beams a live video feed.

"The drone can fly within close proximity of fire sites, accidents and mainland water bodies to evaluate the extent of damage. Once the scale is known, the job of planning a rescue operation becomes much easier,” added Professor Mir.

The prototype currently flies for 20 minutes and the students are hoping to extend the range to 40 minutes. Working in partnership with a team of experts from the Ajman Civil Defence, four months of testing and calibration have brought positive results.

"We have experienced failures during the planning stage and sometimes the drone would just fall down. We have tweaked and improved the design to ensure better flight time and increased functionality.”

Working in three different groups, the students designed the software, hardware and wireless communications system in-house, buying spares from suppliers in USA.

Mateen Tahseen was one of the students working on the prototype. He says the experience to work with civil defence officials was ‘life-changing'.

"We have experimented with different designs, different materials and different motors to find the best mix. Our latest drones can carry a load of 8kg and fly for 40 minutes. The civil defence team would hear our ideas and give us real-life examples where a drone could help them,” explained Mateen.

The five students are now working to provide the General Directorate of Ajman Civil Defence with three fully functional drones.

Interestingly, two students have already been recruited as interns to work with police officials on advanced drones for civilian use.

Advanced on-board sensors provide the drone with collision detection features, while allowing the device to return to a base station in the event of low battery.

Prof. Fahar Hayati, Dean of College of Engineering, shared his joy as he said: "It gives us immense joy to see our students achieve something on a national level. This drone is an epic culmination of our mission.” – Khaleej Times -§ion=nationgeneral


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