Beijing-Self-flying drones could be used to rescue people from fires in tower blocks by unfolding into safety nets mid-air. 

Net Guard drones would use GPS to pinpoint the location of the fire once a distress signal has been received then head to the necessary building, avoiding traffic below. Once close enough to the building, the drone would then unfold into four propeller-powered parts, a safety net pulled tight in the centre. This net would be made from a quadruple layer of polyurethane, the designers said, and would be strong enough to then carry the weight of a regular adult. The drone would also keep track of the evacuee using sensors, allowing it to be positioned correctly were person in need of jumping. It was designed by six students from the Guangdong Polytechnic Normal University, Schools of Electronic Engineering and Art, China, and was recently awarded the Golden Pin Concept Design Award.

The group - Diao Hao-Ming, Liu Xiang, Li Hao-Hua, Zhu Nan-Tong, Li Guo-Yu, and Hu Zhen-Yuan - said in a statement: 'We came up with this concept especially for entering the Golden Pin Concept Design Award.

'We are constantly researching drone concepts from around the globe. We are most interested in applications that benefit society at large.

'Our plans are not concrete yet, but we will definitely be looking into more applications for UAV technology.’