Your neighborhood quadcopter probably doesn’t have the ability to launch Hellfire missiles, but just saying the word “drone” conjures up images of flying, buzzing death. But what about drones’ potential for saving lives?

We’ve seen how drones can be a crucial asset to search and rescue operations, but Iran’s RTS Lab has taken an entirely new angle. RTS’s Pars drone carries a payload of life preservers that can be delivered to a drowning swimmer far faster than a lifeguard. As we saw in testing in the Caspian Sea, the drone can also work at night, using bright lights, biothermal sensors, and a built-in camera to stream video to rescuers on shore.

The concept works well, and it’s an excellent example of how powerful drones—which are cheaper and easier to use than just about any other aerial delivery vehicle—can actually be. Here in the US, where the FAA remains steadfast in its desire to squelch the nascent commercial drone industry, this Iranian drone built of Chinese parts sets an example of what can be done when we set our eyes to the skies to do good.

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24 COMMENTS

  1. this is a great idea but i would think a radio controlled torpedo would be faster and better. set up a high camera to watch swimmers if you notice a problem the fish would lock to the target via wireless link to the camera and propel to the person and have a loop strap so it can tow the person back to shore if you make it height droppable you could highlight mutiple targets from a helicopter then drop it to retrieve them.

  2. The only thing Iranians are interested in is how to use a drone for nagative operations,not save anybody's life.This is a propaganda attempt in their part.Or make one big enough to carry a bomb instead of strap one on

  3. Interesting idea but the implementation is really questionable. Multirotors are profoundly inefficient in terms of distance possible, speed, power consumption, etc. Their only advantage is ease of building and control, so I wish they'd addressed that (maybe they just didn't have the funding to purchase the more complex mechanical linkages present in a normal helicopter?). It'd also be nice if they talked about the other disadvantages, ie sure the drone can drop a floatation device but it definitely isn't diving down to grab someone who goes under. I guess that partially falls to the reporter who didn't ask any hard questions at all, though it's still nice to see people trying to use technology for good

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