Whether it’s to protect wildlife, preserve the arts and culture, or save lives, public sector organisations are increasingly using cloud technologies to innovate and solve today’s most pressing real-world social challenges.

At the 7th annual AWS Public Sector Summit in Canberra, Australia, world leading search and rescue drone company, The Ripper Group presented a live demonstration of its drone – the Westpac Little Ripper – and its ability to detect danger and launch a rescue. A high definition broadcast of the drone flying over Burleigh Heads on Queensland’s beautiful Gold Coast was streamed live to the audience in Canberra.


The Westpac Little Ripper flying over Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast, Queensland

This was a world-first public demonstration of the drone’s ultra-low latency (less than one second) video streaming service, which used to take anywhere between eight to ten seconds. In any emergency situation, quick response and command are paramount. The drone covers 150 metres in 10 seconds and provides the pilot images of what’s happening in the water. If a shark is close to a surfer, or there is a swimmer in distress, by the time the drone flies around to alert the surfer or drop an inflatable pod to a swimmer in trouble, it may be too late. The reduction in latency enables the drone pilot to see the video captured in the cloud almost immediately – and this could mean the difference between life and death.

The Ripper Group worked with AWS to put their world-renowned SharkSpotter Artificial Intelligence (AI) capability in the cloud. This has been done so the video transmission can be processed by AWS Cloud analytics, putting a 93 per cent accuracy of marine life detection over the video stream instead of 12-17 per cent accuracy of detection from the standard human eye. This means in the first instance, the rescue pilot is able to differentiate a shark and a whale or spot a swimmer in danger or in distress.


Dr Paul Scully-Power, Co-Founder, The Ripper Group at AWS Public Sector Summit Canberra 2019 Keynote

The Ripper Group also launched a new AI app at AWS Public Sector Summit in Canberra. AWS Elemental Live powers the app to create content for a variety of viewers and devices. It produces video streams, which ensures uninterrupted video delivery to users facing high network traffic or bandwidth constraints. This powers the low latency, which allows the video captured via the drone to be streamed to the app almost in real-time.

All these new abilities, including very low latency, mean future long-range drones will be able to autonomously monitor Australia’s unpatrolled beaches, where swimmers can face the highest risk. The possibility to do more with cloud and technology is limitless, especially when it comes to mission-critical situations such as saving citizen lives.

Working with emerging technologies such as AI allows the Public Sector to innovate quickly to deliver more timely services to citizens. AWS continues to work with organisations such as The Ripper Group to help drive social transformation and solve some of Australia’s biggest community issues.