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Search and Rescue Drones Use AI to Find People Lost in Woods


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A drone image in which people are highlighted.

New drones equipped with a deep learning application that improves the images they collect during search and rescue missions can better distinguish people from their surroundings.

Credit: Nature Machine Intelligence

Researchers from Austria's Johannes Kepler University have developed drones equipped with a deep learning application that improves the images they collect during search and rescue missions to better distinguish people from their surroundings.

The team noted, "automated person detection under occlusion conditions can be notably improved by combining multi-perspective images before classification."

The researchers achieved 96% precision and 93% recall rates with image integration using airborne optical sectioning, a synthetic aperture imaging technique that captures unstructured thermal light fields using camera drones, compared to 25% achieved by traditional thermal imaging.

The researchers say the drones are ready for use.

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