Innovation That Matters

Disaster drones crowdsource a search and rescue team


aeroSee crowdsources a team of spotters to look for survivors in photos taken by UAVs.

Drones are rapidly moving into the field of human rescue, and we have already seen new developments aiming to make quadcopters more effective at mountain rescues, and extra large carrier drones developed to evacuate the wounded from dangerous combat zones. Now aeroSee is looking to improve the speed at which aid is brought to survivors in disaster zones or during search and rescue.

The project is combining drones that take photographs with human volunteer spotters. First, a team of drones explore an area taking pictures. The pictures are then geotagged and online virtual volunteers scour the pictures for signs of people. When several of the virtual team spotters tag a photo, a rescue team can be dispatched to the location.


By crowdsourcing their rescue efforts, aeroSee say their technology could help find individuals lost in vast wildernesses that would be too difficult for individual teams to search. The technology is being developed at the University of Central Lancashire in the UK, but for now the beta version is only open to search and rescue professionals.

We have already seen initiatives where drone hobbyists have been offered training to help out if disaster strikes an area. How else could crowdsourcing be used to help out in these disaster zones?




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