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Requirements and Limitations of Thermal Drones for Effective Search and Rescue in Marine and Coastal Areas

Burke, C, McWhirter, PR, Veitch-Michaelis, J, McAree, O, Pointon, HAG, Wich, SA and Longmore, SN (2019) Requirements and Limitations of Thermal Drones for Effective Search and Rescue in Marine and Coastal Areas. Drones, 3/4. ISSN 2504-446X

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Abstract

Search and rescue (SAR) is a vital line of defense against unnecessary loss of life. However, in a potentially hazardous environment, it is important to balance the risks associated with SAR action. Drones have the potential to help with the efficiency, success rate and safety of SAR operations as they can cover large or hard to access areas quickly. The addition of thermal cameras to the drones provides the potential for automated and reliable detection of people in need of rescue. We performed a pilot study with a thermal-equipped drone for SAR applications in Morecambe Bay. In a variety of realistic SAR scenarios, we found that we could detect humans who would be in need of rescue, both by the naked eye and by a simple automated method. We explore the current advantages and limitations of thermal drone systems, and outline the future path to a useful system for deployment in real-life SAR.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: search and rescue; thermal infrared; astro-ecology; drones
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
T Technology > T Technology (General)
T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
T Technology > TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: MDPI
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2019 09:35
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2019 09:45
DOI or Identification number: 10.3390/drones3040078
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/11583

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