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Iran's RTS Lab Developing Lifesaving Aerial Robots
By Brett Davis
Someday, the robotic lifeguard EMILY may not be the only life-saving robot plying the waves.
RTS Lab, based in Tehran, is developing Pars, a system of aerial robots intended to aid drowning swimmers. The first iteration would be aimed at swimmers near coastlines, but later versions could be based on ships or helicopters, RTS says.
The aerial robots would find their way on and off their launch pads automatically, and could even find swimmers at night using forward-looking infrared sensors.
Each small Pars unmanned aircraft could carry several life preservers, as many as 15 in an uninflected state, thereby allowing them to save multiple people on one mission.
So far, the lab has conducted "a few tests" with one life preserver connected to an aerial robot, to test its speed and stability.
The lab says it got the idea by hearing about sinking ships in the Caspian Sea - more than 1,100 people have drowned there over the last eight years. The lab presented the idea to a Red Crescent meeting about life-saving technology and had it chosen as the best idea, "and this encouraged us to build the robot," the lab says on its website.
The lab is now seeking financial support to build a prototype and plan for mass production. Construction of a prototype system is expected to cost $300,000-$400,000.