Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Military Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



UAV NEWS
Refugee who made it returns with drone to halt drownings
By Iliana MIER
Lesbos, Greece (AFP) Aug 24, 2016


Standing on a pebbled beach on the Greek island of Lesbos, Mehdi Salehi searches for a good spot to set his drone loose.

Far from being a hobby flight, this is a project to save the lives of drowning refugees, designed by a 33-year-old Afghan who was once one of them.

Fifteen years after fleeing his home to escape the Taliban, this drone expert wants to help others like him survive the perilous crossing of the Aegean and Mediterranean seas that has claimed thousands of lives.

Founded by Salehi, "Drones for Refugees" is a project designed to enable rescuers to swiftly locate and reach migrant boats in difficulty, slashing time to reach them in a way that can mean the difference between life and death.

The sea route between Turkey and the Greek Islands has always been a favourite with smugglers, but in 2015, the numbers crossing that waterway exploded due to the Syrian conflict.

From his home in New York, where he lectures at Parsons School of Design, Mehdi saw dramatic news footage of dinghies packed to the brim.

He also saw the images of those who did not make it and decided to do something about it using his skills.

With the support of Parsons alumni and faculty, Mehdi and his partner Kristen Kersh bought and customised the drone tested on Lesbos. They added cameras, sensors, data-sharing points and designed an web platform.

Footage from the cameras and the infrared sensors can be streamed live to websites as well as to mobile devices used by coastguards, search and rescue teams and merchant ships.

"It is very important that we work with them. We need to know how they work to better customise the drones and the data-sharing platform," says Mehdi, whose project is still in its pilot phase.

- Avoidable tragedies -

Often portrayed as the eye in the sky of modern warfare, drone technology has tended to make the headlines for all the wrong reasons, notably when military strikes go awry claiming innocent lives.

But Mehdi insists the technology should used for saving lives.

"Drones can be used for the common good not just for military purposes.

"With the technology that we have today, people shouldn't be dying at sea. When I crossed, we had to buy a paper map to find the closest point to Greece on the Turkish seashore," he says.

"In 2016, with smartphones and drones already available to civilians, these sort of tragedies could be avoided."

Esther Camps, Lesbos coordinator of Spanish lifeguard group Pro-Activa, says the project could provide vital information on what rescuers need to expect ahead of time: "If they need medical assistance, how many people are on board, if they have life-jackets on them," she says.

"It's quite difficult. You have to sail three or four hours until you arrive at the area where you are supposed to see the refugee boats," Camps told AFP.

- 'We couldn't swim' -

When Salehi crossed the Aegean from Turkey in 2001, he arrived on Chios island with a friend in a children's plastic boat bought for $20 in Izmir.

"It was a dumb decision and we were very dumb kids," he says with a wry smile.

"We didn't have money to pay smugglers but I was going crazy in Istanbul. Living conditions were inhuman. We couldn't swim, it was in fact my first time at sea but I convinced myself that if I had survived so far, I could also live through this."

Salehi and his friend were arrested and thrown in jail for five months. Then, a random encounter changed his luck.

Isabelle, a Greek doctor working for Amnesty International, visited the prison where they were being held and Salehi asked her for help in filling out his Greek asylum application.

She found him a lawyer and he got his papers.

"I was very lucky. I got a lot of support from people that met me along the way, especially in Greece. They encouraged me and believed in me. Refugees and migrants, that's what we need: an opportunity to thrive," Salehi says.

"It's a very harsh change for us, a different country, different environment but we can study and work and create wealth and jobs if they let us," he explains.

- Bigger, better drones -

Drones for Refugees plans to build bigger drones, able to fly over larger areas of the Mediterranean where the survival of refugees and migrants depends on being spotted and rescued by a ship.

Hopefully, the final and bigger prototype will be ready by the end of this year, Salehi says.

Until now, the group has been funding itself but Salehi and his team will need an extra injection of cash if they are to build larger drones with longer flight autonomy.

After being granted asylum in Greece, Salehi obtained a master's degree in architecture from the University of Volos in 2011.

Moving to the United States, he received a second master's in design and technology from Parson's School of Design in New York.

He is now a part-time lecturer at Parsons, part of the progressive New School which counts among its alumni Tennessee Williams, Marlon Brando and Donna Karan.


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
UAV News - Suppliers and Technology






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
UAV NEWS
General Atomics to develop laser tracking for MQ-9 Reaper
Washington (UPI) Aug 22, 2016
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has been awarded a $9.6 million U.S. Missile Defense Agency contract to develop laser tracking systems for the MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle. Under the cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, the company will design, build and test in the lab key laser subsystems to demonstrate precision tracking. The contract also calls for the company to perform ... read more


UAV NEWS
Russia touts hypersonics as ABM Killer

Lockheed Martin gets $112 million Aegis modernization contract

New SBIRS ground system enters into dedicated operational testing

Lockheed Martin gets $36 million Aegis Ashore missile defense contract

UAV NEWS
Moscow's No-Fly Zones: Russia to Get New Long-Range Missile Interceptor

Iran releases images of new missile defence system

Britain awards MBDA $239M for ASRAAM missiles for F-35s

Raytheon manufactures launchers for Norwegian missile

UAV NEWS
HERMES 450 soars during the North Dakota UAS Field Day

Refugee who made it returns with drone to halt drownings

General Atomics to develop laser tracking for MQ-9 Reaper

United Kingdom orders additional Zephyr

UAV NEWS
Russia develops protected alternative to satellite communication

Two ViaSat network encryptors now NSA-certified

GenDyn to improve U.S. Navy digital modular radio

L-3 Communications gets $216 million U.S. Army aircraft contract modification

UAV NEWS
Lithuania buys German combat vehicles in major arms deal

Pelican BioThermal intros blood carrier for troops

Prison-made US combat helmets endangered soldiers: report

Lithuania receives surplus vehicles from the Netherlands

UAV NEWS
State Dept. approves $231 million munitions sale to NATO countries

U.S. delivers $50 million in weapons to Lebanese military

US approves $1.15 bn tank, weapons sale to Saudi

Russia has $4.6B in military exports in 2016

UAV NEWS
Japan tells China to stop violating territory in East China Sea

Philippines' Duterte warns China of 'reckoning'

In Nepal's Himalayas, hopes of closer China ties

US confirms Gulen extradition request, but says no link with Turkey coup

UAV NEWS
Lehigh engineer discovers a high-speed nano-avalanche

Quantum dots with impermeable shell: A powerful tool for nanoengineering

Researchers resolve problem that has been holding back a tech revolution

Tailored probes for atomic force microscopes




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement