When England’s Loughborough University student Dominic Leatherland was on a beach holiday with his family in 2017, he witnessed a teenage surfer being pulled out to sea due to rough conditions. While two off-duty lifeguards heroically saved the surfer, Dominic noticed the teen didn’t have access to a flotation device for at least 35 seconds. And he found himself thinking: “Why can’t we just fly a drone over the waves and drop a flotation device with the casualty?”
So, for his final year project, the product design and technology student has taken that germ of an idea for a ride. He has designed “SERVITA” – a small, compact drone that flies above hazardous waters to locate individuals in distress and deploys a flotation aid that automatically inflates on hitting the water, helping casualties stay afloat while they wait for a rescue team to reach them.
Working prototype of beach rescue drone
And it’s not just a design. Dominic has created and tested a…