Search and rescue drone penetrates forest canopies

Drones can often be faster and more efficient in search operations of lost or immobilized people in forests than helicopter or plane fly-overs, or rescue parties scouring terrain on foot. Still, their efficacity is limited by the inability of onboard tech to visually penetrate dense tree canopies. That may soon change.

Specialized forest-penetrating search and rescue drone

A study by researchers from the Computer Science Department at Johannes Kepler University in Austria has devised a drone search and rescue system that can cut through forest obstruction to scan ground-level terrain for human presence. The results of their testing are in a report published under the informative (but mouthful) title, “An Autonomous Drone for Search and Rescue in Forests Using Airborne Optical Sectioning.” In it, they describe their construction of a system using an uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) mounted with thermal cameras. Those are paired with onboard machine vision tech…