The latest weapon in Dubai's fight to save lives at sea has been unveiled – a 'world's first' rescue drone.
The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) – called the Flying Rescuer – will help beach-goers get out of troubled waters by dropping life buoys into the sea.
Dubai Municipality has developed the drone to be the first responder in drowning situations, providing emergency services vital time to arrive at the scene.
The municipality said the high-flying drone is the first of its kind in the world in terms of both design and use.
The drone can transport up to four life buoys at a time and can also be used to drop off a rescue raft that automatically inflates when it hits the water.
Khalid Sharif Al Awadhi, chief executive officer of environment, health and safety at Dubai Muncipality, said the new hi-tech helper will support efforts to keep increasing numbers of visitors safe.
"The Emirate is keen to provide the best safety standards for all of its residents and efforts are constantly being exerted in Dubai Municipality to implement practices to enhance safety, especially in destinations that are witnessing continuous growth in the number of visitors, such as beaches," he said.
The Flying Rescuer is the first of its kind in the world UAV, which is currently being used around the world designed only for individual rescue operations.”
Alia Al Harmoudi, director of the environment department at the municipality, believes the drone will be a crucial part of rescue operations.
"The drone can transport up to four rings of lifebuoys to the drowning incident area which can support up to eight drowning people at the same time," he said.
"It can also be used with a rescue raft that automatically inflates when it touches the water instead of buoys to save several people at the same time.
"The Flying Rescuer gives the initial response so that the human rescuers have access to the situation, which makes the rescue operations on holidays and weekends easier."
The Flying Rescuer is the latest addition to the Coastal Coastal Rescue and Safety System run by the municipality.
Since its introduction in 2016, there have been no deaths due to drowning in the emirate.
The Flying Rescuer consists of a double fan mounted on four folding arms known as Octa-X8 capable of carrying a load of 8kg.
It can be remote controlled manually or by determining a specific path for the device and launching it on auto mode to automatically follow its path.
It is also possible to remotely control the launch of rescue buoys or rafts reaching the drowning site.
The drone is also equipped with two cameras, one for high precision navigation for live video transmission up to one kilometer from the control point and the other to facilitate the launch of rescue pipes and buoys to the drowning area precisely.
The UAV has a battery life of up to 30 minutes, allowing multiple flights without having to recharge the battery. It also has the ability to operate at high temperatures in Dubai in the summer.
The UAV is also equipped with an integrated system for addressing the public. The system enables remote voice guidance to be delivered from the control point of the device, which proves useful in cases of collective drowning or in the case of sweeping currents.