WUKSART (Watersafe UK)
Watersafe UK Search and Rescue Team (WUKSART) is a voluntary search and rescue organisation operating within Derbyshire and the East Midlands area. Their purpose is to provide primary response and back up personnel to the Emergency Services in a range of situations.
We began to work with WUKSART in November 2015 where we discussed the options of using drones in search and rescue situations to support search teams looking for missing people and to coordinate the search effort.
The advancement of drone technology in the commercial sphere has enabled greater flight endurance and higher quality cameras with real time high definition video downlink which can be fed back to S&R teams prepping to go on the water. On an emergency call out, the aerial search of the area can be completed within minutes while the boats are still prepping to get on the water. We can use both normal high definition video to get an overview of the area and FLIR thermal imaging to search for heat signatures.
Development in this area could see the introduction of a multi platform approach with fixed wing crafts flying at higher altitude on a fixed flightpath and low altitude multi rotor RPAS offering close in support and potentially carrying life saving equipment to an area of need.
Over the next 12 months we will be working closely with WUKSART by attending as many of their callouts as we can to build a portfolio of case studies and to improve our understanding of the capabilities of drone technology are.