Drones a step towards a Smart City future in Norwest


Unmanned drones are being investigated for flight at Norwest as part of a new initiative between Mulpha and The Ripper Group, one of Australia’s leaders in the use of drone technology across a wide range of industries.

The Ripper Group is the leading provider of strategy, training and deployment services for drones and remote piloted aircraft systems. They are also the official drone partner of Westpac and have been patrolling beaches in New South Wales and Queensland for the last 2 years.

Westpac Little Ripper Lifesaver© received the National Award for the iAwards Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning Innovation of the Year. This was for the Westpac Little Ripper Lifesaver© and Sharkspotter AI algorithm. The algorithm has 90 per cent accuracy in detecting sharks, distinguishing between them and 16 other categories of marine life such as dolphins, rays and whales and can identify surfers, swimmers, boats, human beings and other objects in the water. This visual information is relayed immediately for interpretation to emergency services, beach lifeguards, and water users for appropriate decision-making.

Mulpha and The Ripper Group have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore, develop and integrate drone technology into its Smart City vision at Norwest.

The venture will look at how the latest drone technology can be used to enhance the security, safety, living and working environment of Norwest as the technology continues to develop at a rapid rate.

This will include the use of drones for major intersection traffic monitoring at peak times; security and crowd monitoring during large events; as emergency ‘first responders’ providing police, fire and ambulance with an eye in the sky; and delivering emergency medical supplies such as defibrillators, blood and anti-venom to medical providers.

The Ripper Group will display some of the latest Westpac Little Ripper Lifesaver© technology at Norwest’s Smart City Festival on September 23 at Bella Vista Park from 12noon to 9.00pm. The Festival will also showcase the world of the future including robots, electric and remote control vehicles, interactive games and laser light shows, scientific experiments, and an amazing treasure hunt via augmented reality.

Mulpha Development’s Executive General Manager, Tim Spencer said this partnership is a very exciting step towards a Smart City future for Norwest. “We believe this memorandum is a demonstration of how business must move towards a collaboration model to tackle the increasing complexities of technology, regulation, finance and most importantly community engagement.”

“Mulpha is excited to be partnering with The Ripper Group to explore the future use of drones so that we are ahead of the game in being able to integrate this technology as it develops,” said Mr Spencer.

“The technology is already here, so it is a matter of understanding it and planning for it in a strategic way, so that all issues are considered, proper testing and pilot programs are conducted and its method of development has the support of the community.

“This is all part of our vision for Norwest to become a world-leading innovation and technology hub that will use technology to enhance people’s lives and support the jobs of the future.”

Advisory Board Member, Director of The Ripper Group, Mr Harold Weldon, said: “The Ripper Group has already pioneered the use of drones in a number of areas, particularly search and rescue and emergency response, and we are thrilled to enter this broad-ranging strategic partnership that is open-ended in its possibilities.

“The technology is developing so fast that it’s essential to plan for it and ensure that its use is focussed on benefitting the community. Safety and security is our number one focus.”


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