Life-saving maritime rescue drone
A Spanish-conceived remote-controlled multicopter built to support maritime search-and-rescue services has taken home the grand prize at the European Satellite Navigation Competition 2015, which will see it obtain both cash and further support.
Mr Enrique Martínez Asensi and his winning team hope to see the Poseidron device save lives far out at sea when people fall overboard or are involved in shipwrecks that occur during illegal immigration. Custom-developed by Sincratech Aeronautics - a start-up based in Valencia, Spain - Poseidron can be launched from ships or platforms under virtually any weather conditions. The multicopter uses thermal cameras and the European positioning service EGNOS to quickly locate people in the water and transmit an alarm to rescue teams along with precise information. Capable of carrying up to 70 kilogrammes, it can also transport a dinghy and deploy it as soon as casualties are found. This is what makes Poseidron’s inventors claim it is both faster and more cost-effective than other rescue systems, which in turn significantly increases the chances of survival - particularly in cold waters.
In addition to winning the ESNC's EUR 20,000 grand prize, this innovative project will now have the chance to enter a 12-month incubation programme at one of five Science Parks in Valencia as part of the region's prize.
Thorsten Rudolph, CEO of ESNC initiator and organiser Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen said: "For the German Federal Government, the digitalisation of the economy and society at large is one of the most crucial endeavours of all, and satellite-based services are becoming a more and more important part of the process. Through this European competition, we want to support innovative companies in turning their ideas into market-ready products. Today, I'm delighted to have the opportunity to provide this start-up assistance to this year's winners. As many of their predecessors have shown in years past, they will now have excellent chances to enter the market with their winning applications."
Europe's innovation network for satellite navigation
The ESNC set another new participation record this year, with 515 innovations entered by companies from more than 40 different countries around the world. The competition thus more than matched the successes of editions past in increasing its overall figures to 272 winners awarded and 3,343 ideas received from over 10,000 participants throughout its 12 years in existence.
"Time synchronisation and reliable positioning information are essential to today's digital economy: Without corresponding satellite-based services, the development of these and other innovations - including the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communication, and Industry 4.0 - would not be possible", continued Thorsten Rudolph. "As the ideas submitted to this year's ESNC have shown to impressive effect, it is these forward-thinking technologies in particular that present a great deal of potential waiting to be unleashed by high-tech start-ups."
Under the patronage of the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), the ESNC presented prizes valued at approximately EUR 1 million in total at its festive Awards Ceremony.
By Jake Frith
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