Senior year students of the Department of Computer Systems Engineering at University of Engineering and Technology (UET) Peshawar have developed a wirelessly-controlled rescue boat or rescue robot. The prototype which is three foot long and two foot wide is said to be able to detect as well as rescue people drowning.
With the reoccurrence of floods in Pakistan in recent years, thousands of lives have been lost and more have been ruined. Many of the casualties occur due to a lack of preventative measures and rescue resources.
Rescue workers manually search underwater for people and objects. This is not only risky for the rescuers but can also take longer in a situation which is clearly time-sensitive. Water clarity also hinders divers.
If developed full-scale, inventors of the prototype are hopeful their work can prove very useful in floods and other calamities.
Talking to The Express Tribune, project leader Ayaz Khan said the wirelessly-controlled robot is quick and accurate in performance as compared to manual rescue operations.
The team tested their prototype in water, simulating various situations. Ayaz added it can search for people stuck underwater in places where divers are unable to go.
According to Ayaz, while their primary objective is to ensure people do not drown, the boat they have designed can also help save property. If the project is taken forward and the boat is recreated in real-life proportions, it should be able to rescue cars, boats and sinking ships.
How it works
The project consists of a base station and a boat. The base station controls the movement of the boat remotely while the boat detects objects underwater. It is also equipped with a video camera to relay real-time footage to the base station.
The detector installed on the boat works on the principle of electromagnetism and has a range of 18 inches, which can be upgraded.
“We are trying to direct our efforts towards facilitating rescue situations,” said Bashir Khan, another member of the team. He explained the robot is equipped with a microcontroller programmed to move the boat.
The third member of the team, Ihsan Khan, said the project can become very useful if the team can find patronage to take it forward. It can prevent risking lives in saving lives. “We are proud to help our countrymen with our research,” he added.
Ihsan explained the boat can be upgraded to incorporate GPS technology which will increase its reliability and improve its functionality. He said the estimated cost of their project stands at Rs45,000.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 15th, 2014.