Autonomous drones can help search and rescue after disasters

When disasters happen - whether a natural disaster like a flood or earthquake or a human-caused one like a mass shooting or bombing - it can be extremely dangerous to send first responders in, even though there are people who badly need help.
Drones are useful and are helping in the recovery after the deadly Alabama tornadoes, but most require individual pilots, who fly the unmanned aircraft by remote control. That limits how quickly rescuers can view an entire affected area, and can delay actual aid from reaching victims.
Autonomous drones could cover more ground more quickly, but would only be more effective if they were able on their own to help rescuers identify people in need. At the University of Dayton Vision Lab, we are working on developing systems that can help spot people or animals – especially ones who might be trapped by fallen debris.

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