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Whether it’s saving lives via air, land or sea, the world of search and rescue has been significantly impacted with the increase and advancement of technology.

Innovations are consistently improving the way we plan, conduct and report on operations, with a far higher degree of accuracy than ever before.

Check out our top five picks for the top innovations changing the world of search and rescue.


Although drones have been in the spotlight of search and rescue for years now, the increase in quality has made them an ever-increasing addition to operations all over the world. From life-saving drones dispensing floatation devices through to drones designed to deliver humanitarian aid to those stranded after disasters, this technology has changed how operations are conducted.

The risk of search and rescue workers being injured or placing themselves in the danger zone has significantly diminished with the use of drones, with the added ability to better access, view and assess surrounding conditions in disaster and emergency situations.

Fire-Fighting Bots

5 Innovations Changing the Face of Search and Rescue

Being on the front line of danger, fire fighting is no easy feat. To minimise the risk of fire fighters and victims getting seriously injured, innovators have designed fire-fighting bots that can detect fires before they get out of control, work with fire-fighters to combat larger scale fires and also act as a rescue device.

While there are a number of fire-fighting bots currently under development, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) recently demonstrated bots designed to battle particularly hazardous fires, such as those at petrochemical plants — without putting the lives of human firefighters at risk. Via a combination of GPS and laser senses, these bots detect location and drive themselves to a designated location nearby the fire. After it has been connected to a water source (in this instance, via a heavy-duty fire hose), the Mitsubishi’s fire-fighting bot douses flames, placing itself on the front line of danger without the need for human intervention.

AI Bomb Disposals

When it comes to bomb threat, technology advancements mean that drones can once again come to the rescue in what is a tense and critical situation which has the very real consequence of loss of life.

Undertaken via drone, these AI bomb disposals work with a remotely located bomb squad that monitors surroundings, analyses data sent in and helps machines undertake the process of bomb diffusal and/or disposal.

With a number of AI robots on the search and rescue scene, these have been designed to take on a number of duties, including the ability to disarm traps, fireworks, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other hazardous materials, with a high degree of reliability and precision movement.

Safety Wearables

Escaping to the great outdoors offers a number of benefits – however, when it comes to search and rescue, being prepared for emergencies can often be the last thing on the minds of civilians.

To help combat this issue, several companies have taken the leap into wearable safety innovations, working to integrate beacons into clothing. Made for boaters, sailors, hikers, campers and pilots, these wearable safety devices will be embedded into life vests, flight suits, watches and outerwear.  

Advanced Data Capture

Flight Data Recorders (FDRs), Cockpit Voice Recorders (CVRs) in aviation and Voyage Data Recorders (VDRs) are set to increase their ability to capture advanced data in real time. In cases of aviation for example, the implementation of advanced data capture innovations means no wait time to obtain information from the black box, instead having them deploy or eject before a crash along with beacons to make them easily located. Similarly, this technology is also being considered for maritime incidents.

Discover a range of search and rescue technology at the 2019 Australian & New Zealand Search & Rescue Conference this June. With a range of exhibitors highlighting the latest tools, resources and technology in search and rescue, you have the opportunity to connect with some of the biggest names in the industry.

Find out more here.

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