To rescue people at sea, there are lifeguards. But they’re not alone! A perfectly identified flying object, Helper Drone, can assist them to save victims in record time. This rescue drone detects people in danger and drops a self-inflating buoy close to them. Navigation information is then sent to rescue professionals so that they can quickly locate the victim.
Created in the Landes area, where ocean currents and "baïnes" (pools of water connected to the sea which cause very strong currents) are known to be particularly dangerous, this solution has already proved its worth there: in the past two summers, it has helped save six lives. Eventually, Helper Drone could be used anywhere at sea (on oil platforms, in the merchant navy, on cruise ships, etc.), and also across all emergency centres (ambulance service (SAMU), emergency rapid response unit (SMUR), departmental fire and rescue service (SDIS), etc.).
This Landes-based team combines its collective expertise in emergency medicine, software architecture, IoT and electronics to achieve a common goal: to treat victims more quickly using new technologies.
4 questions to Helper Drone
Where did you get the idea for this startup?
The idea comes from Fabien, co-founder of Helper Drone, who has worked as an emergency doctor on the Landes beaches for 15 years. It was while playing on the beach with a drone that he had recently been given as a present (at the time, he wasn’t aware that it was prohibited) that he had the idea of flying over the waves rather than crossing them to gain precious minutes.
Any recent good news?
Last summer, in 2017, in the context of supervision of bathers on the beaches of Biscarrosse and Lacanau, a scientific study was on the Helper Drone by La Timone Hospital and the SAMU 40, with the aim of demonstrating the benefits in terms of speed of intervention as compared to existing rescue resources. The results of the study are very positive, and we found out a few days ago that it is going to be published in one of the top three scientific journals specialising in emergency medicine. For us, this proves the credibility of our drone and it gives us a lot of exposure.
What is the most unexpected thing that your startup has made you do?
As Total was very interested in our solution for its offshore installations, we were the first company in the world to be authorised to fly a drone on an oil rig. Beyond the totally (no pun intended) incredible environment, it was a huge technical challenge and a week full of training that enabled us to better understand and adapt to the maritime market.
In what way does your project revolutionise your category?
Our strength is our team. Half of its members engineers and the other half doctors, this team has enabled us to offer an innovative technological solution to serve humankind and which is perfectly integrated into the rescue chain. In the space of two years, this led us to the file 5 patents, and, while there had been no technical development for 10 years in the field of inshore rescue, the rescue of 6 lives in the municipality of Biscarrosse alone.