The number of natural disasters has risen significantly in recent years, and with climate change there is no end in sight. Consequently, the demands on rescue forces around the world are increasing. For this reason, I asked myself what I can do to improve the work of rescue teams. Advances in artificial intelligence and drone technology enable new possibilities for problem solving. Based on the technological advances mentioned above, an autonomous Search and Rescue drone was developed as part of this project. The system assists rescue workers in searching for survivors of natural disasters or missing people. This paper also suggests a method for prioritizing survivors based on their vitality.
The system was implemented using a commercial Parrot ANAFI drone and Python. The software was tested on a simulated drone. To simplify the development, the whole system was divided into the following subsystems: Navigation System, Search System and Mission Abort System. These subsystems were tested independently. The testing of solutions and new concepts were performed using smaller test programs on the simulated drone and finally on the physical drone. The Search and Rescue system was successfully developed. The person detection system can detect humans and distinguish them from the environment. Furthermore, based on the movements of a person, the system can distinguish whether the person is a rescuer or a victim. In addition, an area to be flown over can be defined. If something goes wrong during the mission, the mission can be aborted by the Mission Abort System. In the simulation, the predefined area can successfully be flown over. Unfortunately, controlling the physical drone does not work. It stops in the air after takeoff due to the firmware of the drone. It does not change the flight state of the drone, which results in all subsequent commands from the system being ignored.
This paper shows that artificial intelligence and drone technologies can be combined to deliver better rescue services. The same system can be applied to other applications.