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Search-and-Rescue Drone Locates Victims by Homing in on Their Phones


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A view from the drone-based locati0n system.

The Search-And-Rescue DrOne (SARDO) platform was developed to enable a single drone to act as a moving cellular base station, do large sweeps over disaster areas, and locate survivors of disasters using signals from their phones.

Credit: SARDO

The Search-And-Rescue DrOne (SARDO) platform developed by researchers at Germany's NEC Laboratories Europe uses off-the-shelf components, integrating aerial drones, artificial intelligence, and smartphones to find survivors of disasters using signals from their phones.

SARDO utilizes a drone as a mobile cellular base station that sweeps disaster areas and conducts time-of-flight measurements, while a machine learning (ML) algorithm surveys the area and calculates the location of victims.

A second ML algorithm helps locate survivors on the move by estimating each person's trajectory.

In field experiments, the drone could localize missing people to within a few tens of meters in roughly three minutes per victim.

NEC Laboratories Europe's Antonio Albanese said, "We built SARDO to provide first responders with an all-in-one victims localization system capable of working in the aftermath of a disaster without existing network infrastructure support."

From IEEE Spectrum
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