In May 2017, we finally accepted the invitation to Nobreakspace in Lübeck. It was our goal to combine our forces with the local nerds and test our drone under controlled (but realistic) circumstances over the Bay of Lübeck.
In the Mediterranean Sea, a humanitarian catastrophe is taking place. People are drowning not far from popular European vacation destinations. Volunteer rescue workers are doing what should be done by the elected representatives: They’re saving their fellow humans from extreme maritime distress.
Relying on financial donations and remarkable personal commitment, the makers behind Sea-Watch first bought a small ship and later a bigger one to take matters into their own hands. And they have been superlatively successful. Chaos is playing out in the Mediteranean sea, and courageous intervention is absolutely essential.
Government aid workers and professional organizations are desperately overstretched – or simply don’t want to do what needs to be done. Thus, beyond its rescue operations, Sea-Watch has partially taken over coordinating and structuring the efforts of the volunteers on-site.
But the little dinghies are hard to spot - especially when they are sinking. They only show up on radar when they’re within a short radius. And there are several issues with the microlight aircraft that was supposed to be used for the task.
Thats where Searchwing comes in. For the price of a single flight of the microlight, it’s possible to build a complete drone that is capable of scanning a 50km radius around the Sea-Watch ship to search for people in distress. For now, an operator needs to supervise the drone, but later it will do its job completely autonomously.
Unfortunately, commercial system are very expensive which contradicts the basic idea of a drone: to be dispensable. This is why technicians from the Chaos Computer Club and Sea-Watch are working together to develop a non-commercial drone exclusively for humanitarian missions.
Donations to Searchwing are tax-deductable, since Sea-Watch is an formally registered as a non-profit NGO. To receive receipt for donations over 200 EUR, please provide the relevant address information in the “reference” or “reason for payment” field of the bank transfer.