Exit ‘Lifeguards’-Enter ‘Robo Coastal Observer’! This Device does Job Faster than 3 Lifeguards?

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Exit ‘Lifeguards’-Enter ‘Robo Coastal Observer’! This Device does Job Faster than 3 Lifeguards?

Mangaluru: When technology grows and new invention takes birth, the help of human beings is not needed much. But that’s okay because when computers entered into the market, typewriters were discarded, and many typists at the offices had to switch their jobs-similarly when ATM machines were introduced, the Banking Industry cut down on bank staff. Similarly, this Low-Cost Robot Can Do The Work of three Lifeguards in a Rescue! Don’t be surprised if the lifeguards at our local Kudla beaches plunging into the sea to rescue drowning swimmers or fishermen are not humans?

Now National Institute of Ocean Technology, Chennai, has now developed a low-cost robotic lifesaver that that can act in search-and-rescue situations faster than three lifeguards put together! Christened as the ‘Robo Coastal Observer’ (RCO), this life-saving innovation can be operated from the shore with the assistance of a remote control. This device was primarily developed for scientific applications like studying the surf zone and collecting real-time ocean parameters like temperature, salinity and depth. That is one of the reasons the device is called a “Coastal Observer and not a Lifesaver”.

What is Robo Coastal Observer? It is a simple device that looks like a swimming pool float; It is equipped with a waterproof box containing the micro-controller, Electrical Thrusters, Transmitter and sensors. The control unit is equipped with a GPS module for position indication, a flashlight for low light conditions and a camera for visual surveillance. How does it work? Once flung into the sea, the RCO withstands rough waves and can be moved at a rapid speed of five knots up to four kilometres by firing its electrical thrusters. Its battery life is about five hours.

There is also an alternative to switching the RCO on to autopilot by just entering the coordinates of the location to be reached. How will it save a drowning person? Say for example a person is drowning, he/she can simply cling on to the circular float of the RCO or just wear it. The person operating the RCO from the coast can then bring the device back, thus rescuing them. This device was extensively tested at the Marina beach in Chennai by the officers of the Coastal Security Group of Tamil Nadu, and it proved to be successful.

After the successful launching of this device in Chennai, the technology has now been transferred by NIOT to Bengaluru-based CT Control Technology through the National Research Development Corporation (NRDC), on a non-exclusive basis for large-scale commercial production. This device was demonstrated today 23 July 2018 at the Ullal Beach in the presence of, Dr Murali Mohan Choontharu, District Home Guards Commandant; Vijaya Kumar- District Disaster Management Officer; T N Shivashankaran- Chief Fire Officer, Mangaluru Zone; Dr Prakash Shetty- In-Charge/Beach Operator-Talapady Beach Development; Razik Ullal-Founder, Help India Foundation; Gangi Reddy-Head of Karavali Coastal Security Police; and also lifeguards/members of Shivaji Jeevarakshaka Yuva Mandala, Ullal.

The team that handled the demonstration comprised of Sumanth R -Director {Projects and Systems}, C T Control Technology India Pvt Ltd-Bengaluru; B Kesavakumar-Scientist-C {Ocean Observation Systems} National Institute of Ocean Technolgy-Chennai; Prasoom S- Project Manager; Jasir V K- Field Application Engineer; and Abhishekh B- Designer/Developing Engineer, all three of CT Control Technology. Speaking to Team Mangalorean, Dr Murali Mohan said, “In cases when the waves are so rough that a single rescuer would find it difficult to reach the individual in distress, this device can be maneuvered to the person in no time. This device is useful in measuring nuclear radiation, Rapid ocean data collection, Water quality monitoring in coastal areas, Autonomous navigation and guidance system; and Assistance for the rescue of persons without endangering lives of those who save others. Further, this innovation can go a long way in helping curb the rising drowning deaths at our local coastal beaches and across the state in times of adversities.”

Speaking to Team Mangalorean, Sumanth R -Director {Projects and Systems}, C T Control Technology India Pvt Ltd-Bengaluru said, ” ROBO COASTAL OBSERVER (RCO) and a ROBO LIFESAVER (RLS) will be useful for assisting drowning victims without endangering lives of rescuers in coastal water bodies. RLS is a rechargeable battery operated, remote controlled unit having a range of 4Km and is capable of attaining speeds up to 4 knots. A single charge can provide 5 hours operation. CT Control Technology acquired the technology of this innovative versatile platform from National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) Chennai, through National Research and Development Corporation (NRDC); for developing an industrial version of this product.:

“Robo Coastal Observer (RCO) can be used for remote data collection in water bodies such as river, lake, pond and coastal sea. The equipment can be equipped with sensors for ocean data collection with a camera. The equipment is controlled by remote radio control. The data collected are stored and can be transmitted using RF/GPRS/4G/Satellite telemetry. This equipment can also be used in Polar Regions for ocean data collection very close to the icebergs without risking the life of researchers. The equipment could help researchers by providing valuable data on coastal discharge, salinity variation, pollution monitoring etc. This equipment can also be used for coastal surveillance. The advantage of aiding in rescue/assisting of swimmers in coastal waters will attract persons engaged in coastal fishing, coastal surveillance using the camera fitted with RCO. It can be also be used in Coastal patrolling covering a limited area. The device is basically for rescue purposes and will be beneficial to the common man. This device will be mainly used Coast Guard, Marine Department, Port, and many others” added Sumanth.

More details on ROBO COASTAL OBSERVER (RCO) and a ROBO LIFESAVER (RLS) will be briefed during a press meet scheduled for tomorrow, 24 July 2018 at Mangalore Press Club-Urwa, Mangaluru at 11.15 am.

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