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Could this drone save lives on ski slopes in the Alps?

/ 06:46 PM October 12, 2020
20201012 Val Thorens drone

Ski resort Val Thorens in the French Aps has announced that it will roll out a drone with a thermal camera to help rescue workers on Alpine ski slopes. Image: Office du tourisme de Val Thorens/T. Loubere via AFP Relaxnews.

The French ski resort of Val Thorens has announced it will be rolling out a flying drone this season to patrol its vast skiing area for the first time. Its mission? To warn skiers about impending dangers, as well as to provide assistance in case of an avalanche. Its onboard technology could help rescue workers save lives.

Throughout the ski season, this drone will allow the resort’s tracking staff to analyze ski and snow conditions, as well as assist in rescue missions in the event of an avalanche by providing valuable information to ski patrollers in order to evaluate the best safety response.

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The drone features two digital cameras, a thermal one to identify heat sources under the snow, and a second that boasts a very powerful zoom (180x) to examine any portion of the ski slope from a distance. Finally, a loudspeaker allows safety instructions to be transmitted to overly intrepid skiers, if necessary.

At any time, the drone can be directed towards an area of risk or onto the terrain of an avalanche. It will be possible to remotely locate potential victims trapped under the snow and communicate with the rescue team on site, thus accelerating rescue procedures.

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Val Thorens ski patrollers are currently training to get the necessary certifications to fly such devices. CC

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TOPICS: rescue drone, rescue missions, skiing, thermal camera, Val Thorens
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