Automated drones being taught to locate fallen meteorites

Scientists estimate some 500 meteorites plummet to Earth every year, yet less than 2% of those bodies from space are ever located – usually the larger chunks. Now researchers are seeking to up that count with drones using with artificial intelligence (AI) to distinguish meteorite fragments from regular rocks.

AI-paired drones learn to sift meteorites from rocks

A team of experts from the University of California, Davis published their study using AI to boost the efficiency of automated drones as they scour areas of established or suspected meteorite falls, or strewn fields. The uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAV) fly grid patterns at relatively low altitudes, the images from which are fed through a computer system developed to differentiate matter fallen from the skies from rocks and other objects. The technology relies on thousands of photos of recovered meteorites that, over time, serve as the drone system’s base of reference and gradually improving identification…