Using Deep Learning to Help Drones Search and Rescue People Lost in Forests
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Using Deep Learning to Help Drones Search and Rescue People Lost in Forests

Nov 30, 2020
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Researchers at Johannes Kepler University applies a deep learning network to improve thermal imaging camera searches of people lost in forests. Their paper "Search and Rescue with Airborne Optical Sectioning" is recently published in the journal Nature Machine Intelligence. Abstract: We show that automated person detection under occlusion conditions can be significantly improved by combining multi-perspective images before classification. Here, we employed image integration by Airborne Optical Sectioning (AOS)---a synthetic aperture imaging technique that uses camera drones to capture unstructured thermal light fields---to achieve this with a precision/recall of 96/93%. Finding lost or injured people in dense forests is not generally feasible with thermal recordings, but becomes practical with use of AOS integral images. Our findings lay the foundation for effective future search and rescue technologies that can be applied in combination with autonomous or manned aircraft. They can also be beneficial for other fields that currently suffer from inaccurate classification of partially occluded people, animals, or objects.

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