A team of scientists from Germany’s Fraunhofer FKIE Institute have developed a drone technology that can track humans calling out for help. The device will help rescue teams to find survivors of natural disasters.
“(Drones) can cover a larger area in a shorter period of time than rescuers or trained dogs on the ground,” Macarena Varela, one of the lead engineers on the project, told The Washington Post. “If there’s a collapsed building, it can alert and assist rescuers. It can go places they can’t fly to or get to themselves.”
The prototype works based on neurosets, using 32 microphones installed randomly on the device. To create it, the researchers first recorded their own screams, imitating the sounds that a person looking for help might make. Then, they used these recordings to train an AI algorithm allowing the software to filter out any ambient sounds.
Several successful open-field tests have already been made in which the drone was able to locate the person screaming for help “within a few seconds”.
The German researchers are currently in the process of patenting their technology but have not intention to commercialize it.