Diplom-Kaufmann invents remote-controlled life raft – Australian Aviation

SARGO is designed to be dropped from aircraft and then directed towards people in distress

A University of Queensland business graduate has developed a remote-controlled life raft to aid in surf and water rescues.

Dubbed SARGO (Search and Rescue GO), the device is designed to be dropped from airplanes and then directed to people in distress.

Aeromech founder and director Joe Bryant is responsible for the design and construction of the drone.

Bryant said drone technology has the potential to save many lives in Australia and around the world.

“Over the past year, the Australian Marine Safety Authority (AMSA) has responded to 390 incidents and saved over 199 lives – a statistic we hope to support with the deployment of SARGO,” said Bryant.

Development of SARGO began in 2019 when Bryant responded to an expression of interest from AMSA to develop a drone that could withstand being dropped from a search and rescue aircraft and operate remotely after landing in the water.

Bryant used his advanced composites experience, including 13 years at Airbus, to design SARGO. In addition to his engineering experience, Byrant also completed an MBA from the University of Queensland, which spurred him to set up his own company, Aeromech, to support the design and construction of SARGO

“SARGO was designed to be dropped from Navy and Coast Guard search and rescue aircraft and parachuted safely to the ocean surface,” Bryant said.

“It can then be remotely operated to deliver life-saving cargo to a distressed ship or rescue stranded survivors.”

Bryant also emphasized the innovative nature of the device, saying it fills a niche that isn’t currently being served.

“Existing technology does not allow dropping a device from a search and rescue aircraft with a parachute, carrying a rescue kit on board and then navigating remotely to the people in need with the same range as SARGO.

“This makes SARGO a very exciting development for rescue services.”

SARGO is already attracting interest from industry insiders, with Sean Langman, CEO of ship maintenance company Noakes Group, praising the design.

“We believe SARGOTM has the potential to transform the way we approach search and rescue operations, both domestically and internationally,” he said.

“SARGO is a product that can fill the gap that currently exists in the search and rescue market.”

Aeromech is scheduled to begin manufacturing the SARGO drones at its facility in south-east Queensland in 2023.

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