Last week, the Avy Rescue Drone was officially launched and exhibited in the Amstelkerk in Amsterdam. The life saving Drone is made for the sole purpose of rescuing boat refugees crossing the Mediterranean sea. With their entry into the finals of the UAE Drones for Good Award, Avy gets the recognition they deserve. The prize of the UAE awards is more than just symbolic: 1 million dollars.
A life saving drone
He hosts a Syrian refugee in his home, and was saddened by the stories he heard about people having to cross the Mediterranean sea in small and unsafe rubber boats. That’s why Patrique Zaman, aeronaut and CEO at Avy, created the Avy Rescue: a drone that patrols the sea, and comes into lifesaving action when needed. It detects unidentified vessels in the sea, and gives a notification when it signals unusual activity, for example when it suddenly deviates from course.
The Avy Rescue is equipped with cameras and sensors enabling it to detect boats and drowning men, but it is also capable of dropping life jackets, life buoys, food, and medicine. Moreover, it can send spoken instructions, as has a built-in speaker. Zaman: “It should be visible to all that this is a rescue drone. By sending out a spoken message, either in English or in Arabic, we want to ensure people that the drone comes to help them. ”
Avy Rescue: not a regular drone
The Avy Rescue is different from conventional drones, as it can fly for several hours in a row. Moreover, it is not just a drone, it actually is a combination between a drone, an airplane and a helicopter. Therefore, it can operate in the absence of ground infrastructure, and it is able to hover above a fixed point. With its size of 2 by 2 meters, it is slightly larger than a regular drone. This relatively large size enables the air vehicle to carry heavy materials such as humanitarian aid.
Why current rescuing attempts don’t work
At the moment, rescue teams often send helicopters to collapsing boats. Zaman thinks they are inefficient, not only because they are extremely expensive, but also because they are not precise in detecting drowning people in the sea: “With a helicopter it is very difficult to detect people. When the Avy Rescue detects unusual activity in a non-identified boat, it drops self-inflatable life belts on which drowning people can hold themselves. They contain a transponder, that communicates the GPS values automatically to the rescue teams”.
‘Drones for Good’ is an international award, initiated by the Dubai ICT-fund and Dubai Telecom. It is a competition between companies offering an airspace product with a humanitarian purpose. Out of 1000 submissions, a jury selected 20 finals for the finals. This year is the second time the Award takes place. For a full list of the 2017 finalists, click here.
Images source: Avy One website and the Avy One Facebookpage.