A Chinese drone company is teaming up with an Australian rescue group to launch an aerial shark-detection force over the western coast Down Under.
JTT Technology announced a partnership with Surf Life Saving WA, a Western Australia, non-profit rescue organization. The program would deploy the JTT T60 industrial hexacopter to monitor beaches for sharks, identify swimmers in danger and air-drop a rescue buoy package to them.
Using 4G wireless technology, the JTT T60 can transfer images and videos to onshore rescue groups to coordinate patrols and emergency missions.
Shark attacks accounted for two fatalities in Australia last year out of 26 overall attacks; a statistic rescue groups would say is two too many.
“JTT is proud of contributing its own strength in patrolling and protecting people on Australia Coast. “Drones are ‘the future of rescue’,” said JTT vice president Li Xia in a company statement. “We’ll keep on working hard and improving T60 UAV’s functions to make a better life-saving drone.”
The T60 is a military-grade drone (wind and water proof) equipped with a 3-axis gimbal that can deliver stable 360-degree vision. The drone stay aloft for up to 60 minutes on a single charge and supports payloads up to 3 kg to include an IR thermal camera, night vision camera, remote controlled search light/loud speaker or (in the case of swimmer emergencies) a first-aid kit.
Shark mitigation via drone is a growing trend Down Under given the number of top-rated, busy beaches. Last year, an Australian shark-repellant company tested the “Little Ripper,” a military-grade drone that costs around $180,000. The fixed-wing UAV comes equipped with a high-def camera and a detachable pod that can hold emergency medical equipment, shark repellant and an inflatable life raft.
Previously, Perth-based Shark Shield had tested Phoenix Aerial’s Vapor 55 UAV, which can main aloft for 150 minutes and can travel 100 km per charge.
In 2016, South Korean UAV startup Soomvi developed a similar product, the S-200 Rescue drone. The quadcopter can drop flotation devices to drowning swimmers as well as patrol waterways for maritime search and rescue.