The unmanned aircraft will hover over Spain’s busiest beaches equipped with sensors to monitor dangerously high skin temperature.
The pioneering initiative has been designed to protect individuals who have failed to apply sufficient suntan lotion or have simply fallen asleep and risk sun burn and will save-pasty faced northern European holidaymakers from turning a nasty shade of lobster.
An alert will be sent to a manned lifeguard station and a lifeguard will be dispatched to issue the sunbather with a warning to cover up or get off the beach.
Lifeguards will warn burning sunbathers to cover up or apply cream Photo: AFP
“We have also come up with a prototype drone that could emit a warning signal when it detects a sunbather at risk of burning before hovering low over the individual to emit a squirt of full factor suncream, ” said Fernando Bufón, an engineer at Antilangosta Drone Technology which is running the pilot scheme in collaboration with Spain's Coastal Services Department.
The public health coordinator on the Costa Brava insisted such a measure could not only save the skin of hundreds of tourists to Spain each year but would also lower public healthcare costs.
“Lots of holidaymakers aren’t careful in the sun and we need to do something about that,” Juan Antonio Bromista, told The Local.
“We see it as our social responsibility to ensure that tourists feel safe on our beaches but ultimately it would also save taxpayers money. Each year the Spanish health service treats thousands of visitors for sunstroke and severe sunburn after they’ve spent too much time on the beach.”
The scheme will be tested on beaches across Spain, including those in Lloret de Mar, Benalmadena and Calpe starting on April 1st before being extended to other resorts.
Drone technology has already been adopted on Spanish beaches with great success.
Last summer lifeguard drones equipped with rubber floats were introduced at beaches saving vital minutes in the rescue of stricken bathers.
Too much tanning is bad for you, medical authorities say. Photo: AFP
Well done to all those clever readers who spotted that this is our April Fools' Day story! Maybe it was the names that gave it away…”Bufón”, the surname of our Drone engineer translates as “jester” and we gave the spokesman from the health authority, the name “Bromista” meaning “joker”.