Researchers have devised a unique ‘swarm’ system using smart unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that could make mountain search and rescue a lot quicker and cheaper than using helicopters.
A group of Loughborough University students were challenged to design and develop a UAV capable of finding a person in a search and rescue mission for a group project as part of their final year degree.
What they came up was a system which is potentially cheaper than using helicopters and quicker than rescuers on quad bikes.
Project team leader Thomas Offord believes that if those following in their footsteps can perfect a system that uses up to 10 UAVs, all working together, it could grab the interest of mountain rescue teams.
Thomas points out that it is a prototype and admits there are still hurdles to overcome which could take two or three years.
“We have designed it for mountain rescue but it could be used for other things, like police searches and border control,” said Thomas.
The swarm system uses up to 10 UAVs operating together, flying at about 80-88 kph and able to search an area of 12 square miles using global positioning system (GPS).