Drones to find lost people in the woods, quickly and without GPS

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2018-11-05 14:15:05

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Drones to find lost people in the woods, quickly and without GPS

Drones can be highly effective search-and-rescue tool, but not in dense forests, where tree cover can block the GPS signals. Fortunately, MIT has developed a clever solution: use the same technology that drives Autonomous vehicles. Scientists have developed drones that use LIDAR to map forests without the use of GPS. Each drone generates a two-dimensional map that includes the position of trees, which greatly simplifies the memorization of places that the robot has already visited during the search.

This, in turn, will also combine cards from the entire fleet of drones and cover large areas of the forest with minimal effort.

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Drones in search of the lost

These drones will also be more effective and how exactly they're looking for. Instead of sending drones to explore the unexplored region, the method MIT keeps the momentum of the drone as much as possible. This usually leads to the creation of a spiral pattern that covers the area much faster — this is very important for a rescue mission, when every minute counts.

However, there are limitations. The current system lacks external ground stations to combine cards and to identify people who need the system the recognition of objects. MIT assumes that future versions will use the cards together, coming into contact, and object recognition will be implemented in full. If things fall into place, the benefits will be obvious. Rescue teams will be able to find and pull a lot more wounded and lost hikers in the woods, relying on a fleet of drones than large groups of people, and do it much faster.

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