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Open AccessArticle

Unsupervised Human Detection with an Embedded Vision System on a Fully Autonomous UAV for Search and Rescue Operations

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Department of Production and Management Engineering, Democritus University of Thrace, 67100 Xanthi, Greece
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Department of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Mechanical Engineering, Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Institute of Technology, 65404 Kavala, Greece
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2019, 19(16), 3542; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19163542
Received: 20 June 2019 / Revised: 26 July 2019 / Accepted: 12 August 2019 / Published: 14 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensors, Control, and Telemetry)
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) play a primary role in a plethora of technical and scientific fields owing to their wide range of applications. In particular, the provision of emergency services during the occurrence of a crisis event is a vital application domain where such aerial robots can contribute, sending out valuable assistance to both distressed humans and rescue teams. Bearing in mind that time constraints constitute a crucial parameter in search and rescue (SAR) missions, the punctual and precise detection of humans in peril is of paramount importance. The paper in hand deals with real-time human detection onboard a fully autonomous rescue UAV. Using deep learning techniques, the implemented embedded system was capable of detecting open water swimmers. This allowed the UAV to provide assistance accurately in a fully unsupervised manner, thus enhancing first responder operational capabilities. The novelty of the proposed system is the combination of global navigation satellite system (GNSS) techniques and computer vision algorithms for both precise human detection and rescue apparatus release. Details about hardware configuration as well as the system’s performance evaluation are fully discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs); search and rescue (SAR) missions; human detection; deep learning unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs); search and rescue (SAR) missions; human detection; deep learning
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Lygouras, E.; Santavas, N.; Taitzoglou, A.; Tarchanidis, K.; Mitropoulos, A.; Gasteratos, A. Unsupervised Human Detection with an Embedded Vision System on a Fully Autonomous UAV for Search and Rescue Operations. Sensors 2019, 19, 3542.

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