RNLI held its Technology Demonstrator Challenge briefing at the RNLI Training College in Poole on Monday 27th November. It was very well attended with approx. 100 attendees drawn from a very wide spectrum of companies, from micro SMEs to multinationals, including ARPAS-UK members. The organisers of the challenge stressed that they were keen for consortia to come together to address the Challenges, drawn from that spectrum.
The over-arching objective of the Challenge was to demonstrate technical ‘Art of the Possible’ against a portfolio of SAR Design Reference Missions, using any unmanned platform or system that operates above the surface (water or land) to provide search or rescue capability. The need for this activity was identified through a collaborative, strategic level study conducted in early 2017.
The meeting was open to businesses and academia that were interested in using their products and services in realistic operating scenarios, both with regards to environmental conditions and end to end multi-agency operations. The scenarios are developed from ‘Design Reference Missions’ that have been collated from a range of maritime and land based SAR partners.
The briefing and discussion event was well structured, and went through formal briefings of RNLI and HM Coastguard requirements, and fact that the Organisers are providing facilities for the Challenge, but no direct funding. The Organisers are also working with CAA, and have organised a safety case workshop with CAA for participants.
Five Challenge scenarios were briefed by search and rescue “Challenge Owners”, ranging from flood disaster to rescue from intertidal mud areas and areas without comms. A briefing pack with details of those scenarios was provided to those who attended.
The Challenge demonstrations are set to be held over a week in April.