A rescue drone has been designed to "see" inside buildings


Three universities collaborated to develop a rescue drone. This system identifies people at risk. Still in the prototype stage, he can "see" inside the buildings and detect those trapped.

Engineers from Leeds, Massachusetts and Xi'an Universities have developed a prototype scanner system carried by a drone to help rescue teams locate people trapped inside buildings. The equipment provided for this purpose that already exist are affected by certain limitations. Indeed, cameras that detect heat can not work in case of fire. So they figured out a way around this kind of problem.

The name of WideSee, this rescue drone is not limited to a range of a few meters like most wireless systems of the same kind. On the contrary, he can go deeper. This is made possible by long-range radio waves, harmless to humans. The researchers adapted the LoRa radio system which allows multiple objects to exchange small data at low speed. However, this type of wireless network is susceptible to interference. To remedy this weakness, the engineers added an antenna that sends a signal to a more concentrated area. This reduces interference and gives better direction to the signal direction.

drone rescue radar

This prototype rescue drone still needs improvements

The system works like a radar. The rescue drone sends a wave that bounces off the different objects inside the building. From there, it is sent back to a receiver on the drone. When it comes back, the wave has been modified and then integrates the details of the object on which it has rebounded. Then, the drone sends this collected information to a computer that translates the data and gives important information on the presence of people on the scene.

For the moment, this system is able to identify people in motion, who wave their arms to be found, when the drone flies at a speed of 1 to 1.5 m / s. On the other hand, he still struggles with those who are motionless. This is a line of work on which research teams are working to improve their system in the future.


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