In most Man Over-Board (MOB) scenarios, a person becomes unconscious in water after only a few minutes. Ships need a system to alert rescue crews seconds after an MOB situation occurs; a way for the coordinates of the person to be sent, a flotation device and a lifeboat to the exact geolocation. This requires data beyond the line of sight.
Time is the most critical element in Search and Rescue operations for drowning incidents. The submersion time for people who survive intact or with mild neurological damage is less than 5 minutes (median), whereas the average for non-surviving victims is 16 minutes.
The likelihood of survival is very low in general for submersion over 10 minutes. This drastically improves with a flotation device.
A victim has 80% higher survival chance, and a survival time of 2-4 hours (18x higher). Ship cruise speed is 18-20 knots (10 m/s), rescuers have a window of less than a minute to find and rescue a man overboard, if the alert was raised when the person fell overboard.
332 deaths from drowning in boating accidents are reported in US yearly, compared to 3,536 non-boating drownings. A large number of staff, aircraft and ships are working together to search for a missing person (3 aircrafts and 60 vessels were looking for a man who fell from a fishing vessel in Canada).
Here is a calculation of 21 man overboard situations reported, with the average search costing €0.9 M or €20 M/yr. Adding up the cost of claims from shipping drowning incidents, we reach a total value of €6.6 B/yr.
Upteko is working on a system solution to calculate the position of people falling overboard. It has an application that is a standard on our multipurpose drone. The Charging station of the drone is connected to the AIS signal of the ship. In this way, it knows the speed of the ship, the direction of the wind, the underwater current, and the sail path of the ship.
With this information, the direction of a MOB (man overboard) can be calculated, and how many centimeters this person would move in any direction per second.
With a short interaction with the systems computer from anyone with access to it, a command is given to the drone with a push of a button, and the drone takes off and activates the RGB and the thermal sensor.
The drone flies in the direction of the MOB and the thermal sensor with AI will detect the hotter pixels in the image and send the exact location back to the bridge, so a safety boat can be sent directly to the victim. this is especially an advantage at night where the MOB is most likely not visible in line of sight.
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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 876557
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