A major threat to maritime rescues is weather conditions that would put the life of the first responders in jeopardy. A UK-based startup, Zelim, aims to change that with its Unmanned Rescue Vessel. Zelim’s unmanned rescue vessel is designed to recover and protect casualties without putting rescuers in harm’s way. Like lifeboats you will find installed on offshore structures like oil rigs, Zelim Unmanned Rescue Vessel can be launched from an offshore structure or a mothership.
The Zelim Unmanned Rescue Vessel has been designed and tested for extreme conditions, said Zelim. There are two vessel classes, namely, Survivor Class, and Guardian Class. Much like lifeboats, the former is designed as permanent standby on at-sea facilities, equipping these facilities with 24/7/365 search and rescue capability. Meanwhile, the Guardian Class is a speedboat-style, next-generation fast rescue craft that can be manned or unmanned.
Both Classes are equipped with Swift, a conveyor belt-like system that will help to fish people out of the water, at the front. The Swift is also available as a system itself that can be retrofitted to existing boats. Obviously, autonomous boats aren’t new (remember Roboat and Yara cargo ship?) but I believe Zelim Guardian would be the first of its kind.
Recently, Zelim has revealed that the Guardian will integrate the SM300 remote control and command system from Sea Machines. This system will afford the Guardian to carry out search and rescue missions autonomously, or remotely manned by first responders from a “command center anywhere in the world.”
The vessel further boasts SARBox, a technology that detects and tracks people who went overboard to facilitate rescue. With an automatic rescue boat or a SAR vessel that can be remotely piloted will afford rescue vessels like the Guardian is able to continue search and rescue operations even in conditions that may be dangerous for human crew. This not only minimizes the risk to the rescuers but also allows for a timely response that could mean life or death for people stranded in the rough sea.