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Project for sea rescue operations with drones secures funding and begins flight testing

Past Monday, the Airpelago team took part in the first coordinated flight tests of the EOS-project. The EOS-project secured funding already last summer. EOS, short for Eyes On Scene, is a cooperation between RISE, Chalmers Maritime Human Factors, Airpelago, Smartplanes, and Infotiv, in support of the Swedish Sea Rescue Society (SSRS, Sjöräddningssällskapet) and partly funded by the Swedish Transport Administration.

The twelve million SEK and two your project runs till June 2023 and aims to develop, test, and evaluate a system of small flying wing drones that can be remotely launched and operated during sea rescue shouts in order to give rescue boat crews and rescue coordinators early images from the scene of a maritime accident or incident.

The goal is to be able to stream video back from the scene before the rescue crews have launched the boats, which on average means that planning, launching, and flying to the scene must be accomplished in less than 12 minutes.

Our software Drone Mission Control plays an integral part in this scenario by enabling drones and drone launchers to stay connected and usable via the mobile network, by automatically calculating safe and optimized routes for nearby drones based on current wind and up-to-date airspace restrictions, by allowing pilots on call to log in and take control of drones remotely, and by enabling live streaming of video to any number of organizations that can benefit from an overview of a rescue situation.

During the flight tests, several key components of the system were demonstrated, including remote control and video streaming via mobile network and the internet, as well as fixed-wing starts and landings on a moving rescue boat as well as water landings.

The Swedish Sea Rescue Society has been granted extensive airspace in the Gothenburg archipelago for EOS project. This Airspace is currently being further refined in cooperation with Säve Air Traffic Control and the Swedish Transport Agency, with the aim to have it fully operational in time for the active recreational boating season in the summer of 2023.

At Airpelago, which was originally founded to develop the software needed to enable the operations envisioned by the SSRS, we are excited to take part in this important development.

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