This Iranian Drone Could Someday Save Your Life

Though still a concept, this robot lifeguard should be one robot people are grateful to see coming.
Pars Aerial Rescue
Pars Aerial Rescue RTS Labs

Lifeguards of the future may soon come with four rotors.

RTS Labs, an Iranian research firm, has started work on a drone lifeguard. Tired of hearing stories about people drowning in the Caspian Sea, the researchers sought out a way to improve water rescue. Drones can help in several ways humans can’t–they can move faster over choppy seas, they always remain calm, and a drone will never fall asleep on the job. Iran has an usually high rate of unintentional drownings compared with European countries. A robot that helps lifeguards save lives faster could presumably lower that rate.

The Pars Aerial Rescue Robot is designed to work as a mobile lifesaver dispensary, flying out to those in need and dropping vital flotation aids until better help can be secured. As currently designed, Pars starts with a quadrotor, which makes sense: quadrotors are versatile platforms, beloved by scientists because the machines can do things like test eagle arms and kinect-based navigation. Quadrotors are also a relatively strong. That means Pars wouldn’t have any trouble carrying life preservers as well as a sophisticated navigation software and infrared cameras.

In its current iteration, Pars carries up to three life preservers; in future iterations, it could carry as many as 15, the researchers say. To fit that many life preservers on a drone without the whole thing looking like a precarious stack of Oreos, researchers want Pars to carry self-inflating life preservers that use chemical materials to bloat. Pars would also be able to land on water and float until a rescue vessel picks it up.

Research and development for Pars is in the very early stages, but the promise is there. After news emerged that Iran’s fancy new vertical takeoff and landing drone was nothing more than a bad Photoshop job, it would be great if the most popular drone out of Iran were one that saves lives.