The sea as a very extensive area, renders difficult a pre-emptive and long-lasting search for shipwreck survivors. The operational cost for deploying manned teams with such proactive strategy is high and, thus, these teams are only reactively deployed when a disaster like a shipwreck has been communicated. To reduce the involved financial costs, unmanned robotic systems could be used instead as background surveillance teams patrolling the seas. In this sense, a robotic team for search and rescue (SAR) operations at sea is presented in this work. Composed of an Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) piggybacking a watertight Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) with vertical take-off and landing capabilities, the proposed cooperative system is capable of search, track and provide basic life support while reporting the position of human survivors to better prepared manned rescue teams. The USV provides long-range transportation of the UAV and basic survival kits for victims. The UAV assures an augmented perception of the environment due to its high vantage point.
- Unmanned surface vehicles