MBA graduate creates world-first drone to save lives in water rescues

14 Nov 2022

University of Queensland MBA graduate Joe Bryant has developed a world-first drone that will help save lives and reduce human risk in dangerous water rescues. 

The “drone”, known as SARGO™ (Search and Rescue Go), is an unmanned surface vehicle (USV) and is set to revolutionise the way search and rescue operations are performed in life-threatening conditions.

Joe Bryant
UQ MBA alum Joe Bryant

Mr Bryant, the founder and director of Brisbane’s aerospace company, Aeromech, said the technology has the potential to save many Australian lives.

“Over the last year, the Australian Marine Safety Authority (AMSA) has responded to 390 incidents and saved over 199 lives – a statistic we hope to support with the use of SARGO™,” he said.

“SARGO™ has been designed to be dropped from Marine Search and Rescue and Coast Guard aircraft and land safely on top of the ocean’s surface using a parachute.

“It can then be operated remotely to transport life-saving cargo to a stricken vessel or help rescue survivors stranded in the water.

“Existing technology doesn’t allow for a device to be dropped from a search and rescue aircraft using a parachute, carry a lifesaving package onboard, and then remotely navigate to the people in need at the same range that SARGO™ can.

“That’s what makes SARGO™ a very exciting development for rescue services.”

After graduating from the UQ MBA in 2019, Mr Bryant, an aerospace engineer, responded to an Expression of Interest by AMSA looking for a remotely operated vehicle that could be dropped from an aircraft and land on water.

His background in Advanced Composites, including 13 years with Airbus, along with his UQ MBA, has allowed Mr Bryant to design and build SARGO™ in Brisbane, putting Queensland manufacturing and innovation on the world stage.

“The UQ MBA has given me the know-how and confidence to develop my own company from scratch, as well as the invaluable connections with other graduates to bring SARGO™ to life, right here in Queensland,” Mr Bryant said.

Sean Langman, CEO of vessel maintenance company Noakes Group, said he was impressed by SARGO™, in particular, its design, capability and potential.

SARGOTM in action

“We believe SARGO™ has the potential to change the way we address search and rescue operations, both domestically and internationally,” he said.

“SARGO™ is a product that can fill the gap that currently exists within the search and rescue market.

“We will continue to support Joe wherever possible, supporting young Australian companies that show initiative and innovation to ensure the lives of those at sea have access to technology such as SARGO™.”

Aeromech will start manufacturing SARGO™ in their southeast Queensland facility in 2023.

Media: Joe Bryant,, +61 (0)401 849 925;
Caroline Enright,, +61 (0)430 007 435.