This post is also available in: heעברית (Hebrew)

Rescuing people trapped in a fire in the middle of the city depends to a large extent on the rapid access of first responders to the scene, however, this is frequently undermined by traffic jams. A new and revolutionary development is designed to rescue people from highrise fire emergencies, enabling their evacuation from the dangerous scene in a safe and rapid way.

Net Guard is a high altitude self-driven UAV drone concept designed by a group of 6 students in Guangzhou, China. When the system receives a distress signal, it uses GPS to pinpoint the location of the fire. Traveling at high altitude to avoid traffic and reach the scene of the emergency in the fastest possible time, the drone approaches the scene and unfolds into four parts with a safety net at the center.

The system’s power enabling it to travel at high altitudes and catch a person in mid-air is harnessed from four propellers. The net itself is made from a quadruple layer of polyurethane, which is strong enough to hold the weight of an average adult, according to designboom.com.

Sensors keep track of the person as they jump into the net, positioning the drone to catch them.

However, there are several challenges that must be faced, claims bgr.com. First, the power of the drone itself. Hobby drones can’t reliably lift, well, pretty much anything, so we’re talking about an incredibly powerful drone here. It’s safe to say nothing like this has ever been attempted before.

Another concern would be the capability of the drone to remain airborne after it has a passenger. Quadcopter drones are relatively stable because their propellers are arranged in a static, rigid frame. Stretching a net between the corners adds several layers of complexity, and that’s to say nothing of the adjustments each corner would have to make in order to remain in the air after a person has landed in the center of the net.

It is left to see how the new technology evolves into a reliable rescue system.