April 02, 2013      

According to Belgium-based International Life Saving Federation (ILS), annually 370 to 500 persons drown along Iran’s Caspian Sea coastline.

Although part of the 560 mile (900 km) seashore, which is patrolled by the Iranian Lifesaving and Diving Federation with the assistance of the Iranian Red Crescent and Shipping and Ports Organization, has seen dramatic reductions in drowning deaths, however, drowning in non-protected and blind areas of the beaches has increased dramatically.

Enter PARS, a quadcopter concept that flies out over Iranian beaches and drops inflated lifesavers to potential victims, providing a faster and more cost-effective capability than by any available alternative.

Still only in the proof-of-concept, mini-prototype stage (see video below), its developers have big plans for their robotic rescue machine, if their machine can pull off a rescue of its own financing.

A team of Iranian roboticists at the RTS Lab in Tehran, Iran, is developing the aerial robot and they are now reaching out for initial investment capital.

“We need about $40,000 dollars to scale up and build our industrial prototype,” said director and co-founder of the RTS Lab, Amin Rigi.

The total financing picture looks like this:

  • Stage 1: $40,000 to build a full-scale prototype
  • Stage 2: $30,000 systems testing and sea trials development
  • Stage 3: $15,000 for US patent application

When all is said and done, claims the RTS Lab team, the final product will look like this drawing…

pars_product shot

…and the PARS rescue quadcopter will perform rescues much like the one pictured here.

rescue operation

The PARS prototype carries a single rescue ring, but the team is working on one that carries three, while future iterations may be able to dispense up to 15 self-inflating rings.

“The robot features GPS navigation tools, artificial intelligence, sound and image processing, autopilot search and rescue, and a range of sensors, including a three-axle gyroscope, barometer, and compass,” wrote Wired.UK‘s Olivia Solon. “It has a FLIR thermal camera for detecting people in the sea, as well as LED lighting so that the robot acts as a beacon in the dark.”

“The Pars robot also has its own sea platform, where it retreats after a hard day’s work,” she added. “The platform features solar panels to charge multiple ‘copters and uses satellite data for control.”

The PARS rescue robot has picked up two awards for the RTS team:

  1. International Robotics and Mechatronics Conference, Robot Competitions ICRoM 2013, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran (2013)
  2. “Best Idea” First National Congress of Savior Robots, Gorgan, Red Crescent, Iran (2012)

The RTS Lab also provided a PDF prospectus.