UAV Drones Will Patrol Queensland Beaches This Summer

The jury is still out on the ethics of drones, but this is one use case I can definitely get behind. Lifesavers on Queensland's beaches will be handed the controls to unmanned drone aircraft this summer to patrol beaches and keep people safe.

The drones are a metre in diameter and they'll be carrying floatation buoys that they'll drop on people struggling to swim. They'll also have a big loud horn attached so that lifesavers can spot potentially dangerous wildlife -- like sharks -- and warn people to get out of the water from the air.

Brett Williamson is the head of Surf Life Saving Queensland, and he told the ABC last Friday that the drones are currently being trialled on Stradbroke Island to identify those struggling to keep their heads above water.

This is incredibly cool and so forward thinking of lifesavers, but as always, there's a huge potential for abuse here.

Are you pro- or anti-drone tech? [ABC]



    Sounds like a great idea!

    I would wonder about how they handle the wind though? Looks like it has enough rotors to keep it stable.

      Yes, it can get VERY windy at some of those beaches. I wonder how many drones will survive the summer.

      Stilll, seems like a good use of the technology.

    "Are you pro- or anti-drone tech?"

    This is a terrible question. Rules and regulations should be about behaviour, not technology.

      I'm anti-mobile, people shouldn't be able to communicate soo easily because it harbours criminal activities and invades personal space.

    Perth, Western Australia, is also going to get drones this summer to patrol our beaches.

    Checkout Page 5 of our local paper:

    This is the smartest use for these drones I have seen so far

    Personally, I think it's a great idea. I'm not sure what you mean by abuse though. Lifeguards already sit in elevated towers with high powered binoculars, so I guess you don't mean invasion of privacy. My understanding of the issues with drones in the news, is that Pakistani citizens object to a foreign power launching attacks in it's sovereign (albeit tribal and fairly ungoverned) regions and killing people. Over there, I think the objection is the strategy rather than the technology.
    As far as I can tell, these drones in question would not offer anything more to lifeguards than a helicopter does, although I assume at a much lower cost.

    And lifesavers definately won't be using them to perve on girls sunbaking or anything, no way..

    I'm running the ninja perk anyway

      Srs? I've got Extreme Conditioning and I'm not looking back.

    Great idea, could reach troubled swimmers in seconds.

    I wonder how heavy the floatation buoys are.
    Flight times on these things?
    WIll actual life savers be flying these things or an accredited UAV pilot with lifesavers sitting by.
    How are these drones treated to be resistant to the salt in the air?
    What failsafes are there to prevent it from falling on somebodys head?
    So many questions.

      Some figures from the Perth trial:
      The Cyber Eye 2 drone can fl y for 10 hours, has a range of 100km
      the CyberQuad can operate for 15 to 20 minutes in 30-knot winds. (which is needed due to the daily summer sea breeze in Perth)

    I can't help but wonder how long this thing can go without a recharge. I'm going to estimate 10-15 minutes. When (not if) it drops in the water, will a swimmer ironically have to save it? Will it still function after?

    That thing has some serious acceleration, even if they used it to take off from the tower to drop a ring it could save lives.

    It's actually gonna be for pics of chicks. Duh.

    Second some of the above....

    If they are using a Quad (or Hex, Oct, etc) rotor, very short flight time....

    To be effective these need to be out there all the time... which means they are going to have to get fixed wing units to be any use.... Or a large bank of batteries on charge.... (3-5 battery changeovers on fast chargers will keep this going all day, every day... (Hey you-can use Solar panels for the power and it will be "Carbon Negative" or something... think of the Kudos).

    Then take-off and landing, can't be on a crowded beach... (Sure a small planker can be toss launched.... and belly land on the sand..) Has anyone looked at the regulations.. RC planes can generally only be flown for Recreation... Using them for Business entails a lot more headache (Read CASA AC101, to see what is required to get an operating certificate.....) Last I knew RLSA was not generally defined as a recreation activity (Sure they have volunteers but...)... If there are volunteers who aren't "on-duty' then it could be regarded as recreation... as for non monetery operations, anywhere is allowed outside class A-C airspace below 400 feet (~130 m) AGL away from "Built-up areas".... It has to be for Recreation or education to get by these days.... Probably most of the operations using small "Drone" RC planes are "Under the radar" as far as CASA is concerned... One person, injured at a beach, and it will be all over.... I love all applications with tech edging into its niche...

    Re Perving, on birds... nothing new there... if you don't want to be seen (perved at...), don't go to the beach half naked... Remember the scenery is nice, but it can see you too.. There are a few more people realising that this week.

    Make it powerful enough to pull people to safety.

    Hi, i am the designer of the Aerobot ring.

    Firstly, the ring will NOT be used for beach patrol.
    Secondly the machine in the video is a prototype, with no release date YET.
    We will be using our large 3meter flying wing for beach patrols and fire detecting in Melbourne.
    Wings can fly for over 2 hours, a range of 100kms and carry a range of HD cameras.

    No idea where this information came from, but it is not correct :-(


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