Diving drone for operations under water

22.11.2021 06:52
Kategorie: News

Fire department divers upgrade their equipment

Modern technology helps save lives. A large number of task forces are upgrading with the latest technology. Drones have already been in use for some time to assess a fire incident from above. Now underwater drones are also being used to support divers in their search for missing people. The fire department of Peratschitzen near St. Kanzian on Lake Klopeiner in Carinthia was one of the first to do so.

Gallery 1 here

Since the summer, the diving group of the Peraschitzen fire department has had an underwater drone in its inventory. The handling of the sonar and the new drone must of course be practiced intensively before the new technology can be used effectively in search missions. Six of the task forces have already been trained to use the new technology.

Orientation under water needs practice

The camera and light of the diving drone, worth around 20,000 euros, can be swiveled in all directions. It can be used at depths of up to 200 meters and has a camera and control cable one hundred meters long included in the kit; according to the fire department, an extension of this will be purchased later, says Alexander Wiunig, one of the diving drone pilots of the Peratschitzen fire department.

Gallery 2 here

The new drone pilots practiced their first missions in Lake Klopeiner. On the southern shore of the lake, at a shallow depth, lies a small boat that was once sunk there. An ideal training ground for the task force.

Diving drone in Lake Klopeiner

From the fire boat, the drone sinks into the depths and transmits the images to the remote control. "It's like flying, but orientation is even more difficult underwater than in the air," Wiunig says. You have to pay attention to the precise balancing of the device under the water surface, he says. Currently, the visibility in Lake Klopein is quite clear; in the summer months with many people swimming, it is often quite different. Whirled up sediments worsen the visibility considerably.

Current in rivers often dangerous for divers

The underwater drone is used in both standing water and rivers, says commander Thomas Abraham: "Until now, we always had to send a diver if we wanted to 'see' what was at a certain spot. Now we can descend with the drone and see if we find anything in the area. If we do, we have a clamshell arm that the drone can use to dock. Then you can send a diver down along the cable.

In rivers, the current speed is a particular challenge, says Abraham: "You then have to send the drone along with the current, so to speak. But this is where drones are extremely helpful because the danger to divers is great in strong currents." The drone, which can be sent ahead, naturally increases safety for the emergency services here.

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