A group of students have been working with Rolls-Royce engineers to lay the foundations for a collaborative project aiming to save lives at sea with new technology.

Seven students at UWC Atlantic College in south Wales have been developing their ideas alongside three of Rolls-Royce's most experienced marine specialists. Their ideas include scouting drones to aid the search and rescue process.

The ideas were born from the students’ personal experiences of working on the rigid hull inflatable boat (RIB) – the world’s most widely used craft for inshore rescue.

"They think without boundaries – nothing seems unachievable – and their enthusiasm for the subject is extraordinary," said Don Murray, Rolls-Royce’s STEM Ambassador of the students.

"If this level of skill and work ethic can be demonstrated in a college environment, then these individuals will certainly excel as they progress to third-level education."

The project team have focussed on drone technology and artificial intelligence, after experiencing first-hand the difficulties of searching for and rescuing persons in trouble at sea during their College service and lifeguarding training programme.

Erol Balkovic, a second year student involved with the project, said: "In our first year at UWC Atlantic College, we had the opportunity to experience real search and rescue missions aboard the RIB. It can be incredibly hard to find what, or who, you are looking for in those conditions.

"One of our ideas revolves around the idea that technology can essentially become the eyes and ears of a search and rescue team, pinpointing the location of a person or boat in trouble and making the entire process more efficient. This could help save lives otherwise lost at sea."