S. Korea develops satellite communication-based smart buoyancy aids

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : October 28, 2021, 15:57 Updated : January 6, 2023, 01:24

[Courtesy of the Ministry of the Interior and Safety]

SEOUL -- Two types of internet of things-based buoyancy aids designed to help people adrift at sea were developed by a research institute and two domestic companies. In case of disasters including shipwrecks, the aids will help people stay afloat while transmitting location information using satellite communication.

The Ministry of the Interior and Safety said in a statement on October 28 that the smart buoyancy aids based on internet-of-things (IoT) technologies were developed by FITI Testing & Research Institute, Seawolf Marine, a domestic lifesaving equipment developer, and Arion Communications, a domestic company specializing in satellite communication devices. When a person falls off a boat, the buoyancy aids will automatically inflate within five seconds. The life-saving gear will send its location information to rescuers using satellite communication technologies.

Two types of buoyancy aids were developed -- a wrist-band type and a waist-band type. Both types are smaller and lighter than conventional life vests, the ministry said. The aids were developed through a research project that was launched in 2018.

Various life-saving techniques designed to save people caught up in marine accidents are being developed in South Korea. In August 2021, rescuers used drones to save two people lost in forested hills in Chungju some 110 kilometers (68 miles) southeast of Seoul. The drones were connected to a mobile control tower that can relay video feeds from drones and body cameras of rescuers. Drones can be also used to save shipwrecked drifters because they are equipped with optical equipment such as a camera and radar.
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