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With support of an Entrepreneurs' Programme Innovation Connections grant, facilitated by CSIRO SME Connect, the Ripper Group continued their research partnership with UTS to develop their Little Ripper technology for other applications.

The challenge

Byeond lifesaving

The Ripper Group is a pioneer in utilising unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for search and rescue. Their Little Ripper drone led the world's first recorded drone surf rescue in 2018. Since that rescue, The Ripper Group have collaborated with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) on additional applications for their technology. The collaboration developed the Little Ripper technology for other uses including designing and building prototypes for three different uses.

Drone over a beach
The Ripper Group: Accessing research expertise to develop their Little Ripper technology to other applications.

Our response

Accessing research expertise

The Ripper Group identified a need for expertise in Video-based Object Detection coupled with AI to further develop their technology. Through the Australian Government's Entrepreneurs' Programme, The Ripper Group connected with their Innovation Connections Facilitator from CSIRO SME Connect for advice and funding options and accessed two Researcher Placement Grants to support their continued research and collaboration with UTS.

The results

The Spotter Suite

The two projects have been extremely successful with the development of an AI system to detect a range of marine threats and human life with high accuracy and in real time. Two of the applications developed through the projects, SharkSpotter© and CrocSpotter© are now part of the Little Ripper's applications, with a third, PeopleSpotter© in final development. These are collectively known as the Spotter-AI Suite.

The collaboration resulted in the development of world-best, ultra-low latency capability for the transmission of High-Definition video – this has very wide applications beyond drones; and was an outcome well beyond the initial remit of the project.

The Ripper Group and UTS received the AAUS (Australian Association for Unmanned Systems) Innovation Award 2020 for the Spotter-AI Suite.

UTS Computer Science and Engineering has been ranked #1 in the world. Since Australia is at the core of this joint program, it was essential we work with the best.

—Dr Paul Scully-Power, Co-Founder, The Ripper Group

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