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Drones to help save people from drowning

Drones to help save people from drowning


Satyendra Pathak
Doha
Ooredoo Rescue, a drone-based maritime rescue system, is expected to be stationed at 30 different locations along Qatar's coastline in the beginning of the next year to save people from drowning in the sea.
Developed by Doha-based start-up n-GON and supported by Ooredoo, the new system is aimed at minimising drowning cases in Qatar.
Providing details about the positioning of drones carrying buoys during the ongoing QITCOM 2017 exhibition in Doha, n-GON CEO Amr Abdelhady said the Ooredoo Rescue stations will be positioned at popular tourist destinations and areas where Qatar has seen a rise in drowning cases.
He said the rescue system will be operated by the Ministry of Interior (MOI). Installation of buoy base stations will begin from the beginning of next year.
"We have tested the technology and we are ready to launch it any time. As soon as we get approval from the MoI about locations and other security aspects, we will begin positioning the buoys," Abdelhady said.
The buoy base stations will be positioned across the Qatari peninsula in two phases, he said, adding that 13 buoy stations would be installed in the first phase and the rest 17 in the second phase.
Ooredoo would also provide free Wi-Fi at popular beaches through buoy base stations once they are positioned at different locations, he said.
Abdelhady said the buoy base stations would be equipped with HD cameras powered by solar technologies that can monitor the sea in real time round the clock.
The buoy base stations will be in constant communication with the control centre of the coast guard especially trained in emergency response best practices.
When an emergency like drowning is detected, rescue missions can send out a drone carrying a lifebuoy, keeping the victim afloat until further help arrives.
"The whole operation can be seen live on screen from the monitoring room," Abdelhady said.
Upon successful deployment, he said, the drone would fly back to shore and collect a new life raft unit. The drone would use Ooredoo 4G Supernet to carry out various rescue operations, he said.
Abdelhady said that the drones used as part of the new technology would be manufactured in Qatar soon.
"Currently, it is being manufactured by a UK-based company. We will soon shift the manufacturing unit from the UK to Qatar," he said.
Abdelhady said major telecom companies in countries like Turkey and Bulgaria were also in talks with n-GON to use the maritime rescue system.
Qatar's first drone-based technology start-up n-GON, under the leadership of its chairman Sheikh Khaled bin Nasser Ali al Thani, is also working on drone technologies to check smuggling through the border.
"The Ooredoo Rescue concept highlights Ooredoo's key role in developing Qatar as a smart nation. It also showcases our commitment to promoting and supporting start-ups in the community and keeping Qatar's people safe," a senior official of Ooredoo Qatar said.
The cases of drowning in Qatar and other GCC countries are quite significant as they have large coastlines, the official said, adding that the new technology would play a vital role in tackling the menace of drowning in the region.

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