Sea Watch System by EVT and Aero

April 18, 2017

Search and Rescue, now you can be 360 feet in the air, viewing 360 deg. in any kind of weather…

This July 24th, marks two-years since the disappearance of Austin Stephanos & Perry Cohen, two 14-­year-­old boys who set out to do some fishing in their small boat and were lost at sea after getting caught in a storm off the Jupiter Inlet.

AERO’s founder was in Jupiter, Florida at the time, and it became evident that the Coast Guard and civilian search & rescue teams simply didn't have the appropriate resources to overcome the many challenges of finding someone lost at sea, especially in areas of high current and unstable weather – like Florida’s Atlantic coastline. Legacy resources like boats, planes, and helicopters have limitations, and the success of a search operation relies not only on the skill and persistence of the searchers, but on sheer luck or coincidence.

Despite a large, well-­organized search effort, the boys were never found. They became the most notable search & rescue failure in recent memory along the Florida coast. Unfortunately, there will be future emergencies in Florida’s waters that will, again challenge our current capability.

Technology to the Rescue:

Search & rescue technology is changing fast. Integrated Autonomous Vehicles (IAVs) are enhanced “drones” which are networked to a common control center -­greatly increasing the odds that search & rescue efforts will be successful. AERO’s IAV systems work alongside existing legacy systems, but provide a quantum leap in search & rescue capabilities and effectiveness, and can significantly reduce the time needed to scan a wide area.

AERO-­EVT’s SeaWatch™ system permanently positions a series of small, tethered IAV aircraft at selected ports and inlets. On-­‐board camera technology constantly captures high-­resolution, 360-­degree video. Our cameras provide enhanced imaging even in adverse weather conditions. Using advanced video processing from EVT, we can “see” through fog, smoke, haze, and rain to provide clear, useful imagery in real-time. At a safe hovering altitude of 250-­400 feet, the system can see well-­beyond the horizon. The system provides real-­time monitoring for port authorities, law enforcement and maritime operators, and archived data for analysis in a crisis situation.

AERO’s tethered IAV systems are complemented by a fleet of coordinated IAV search aircraft. These autonomous vehicles can easily and quickly “map” the entire area-­of-­ interest, in much less time, and to a much higher degree of precision than is presently possible with manned aircraft (helicopters or planes) – and at zero risk to search & rescue personnel.

AERO IAVs carry a host of cameras and sensors equipment. The IAVs are constantly looking for surface debris, anomalies, and temperature variations as well as listening for weak radio or cell phone signals. Through our automated image analysis, AERO-EVT provides a way to scan and re-­scan archived video data to identify anomalies, floating objects, marine life, and even underwater activity.

In the aftermath of natural disasters, this same system can support first responders, FEMA operations, and utility companies in identifying hazards, locating lost persons, and supporting mitigation and reconstruction efforts.

The SeaWatch™ systems – when not deployed for search & rescue, can provide on-­demand aerial services to collect research data, perform environmental surveying, near-­shore shark monitoring, and wildlife tracking for management of endangered species like sea turtles and manatees.

AERO and EVT stand ready to support DHS, Coast Guard, Marine Patrol, law enforcement and civilian agencies in live and forensic operations to support future search & rescue missions.

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