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An Appearance-Based Tracking Algorithm for Aerial Search and Rescue Purposes

Intelligent Systems Lab (LSI), Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Avnd. de la Universidad 30, 28911 Madrid, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
This paper is an extended version of our paper published in Abdulla, A.-K.; Francisco, M.M.; Arturo de la, E.; José, M.A. Intelligent vehicle for search, rescue and transportation purposes. In Proceedings of the 2017 IEEE International Symposium on Safety, Security and Rescue Robotics (SSRR), Shanghai, China, 11–13 October 2017.
Sensors 2019, 19(3), 652;
Received: 27 December 2018 / Revised: 19 January 2019 / Accepted: 2 February 2019 / Published: 5 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Intelligent Sensors)
PDF [9705 KB, uploaded 14 February 2019]


The automation of the Wilderness Search and Rescue (WiSAR) task aims for high levels of understanding of various scenery. In addition, working in unfriendly and complex environments may cause a time delay in the operation and consequently put human lives at stake. In order to address this problem, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), which provide potential support to the conventional methods, are used. These vehicles are provided with reliable human detection and tracking algorithms; in order to be able to find and track the bodies of the victims in complex environments, and a robust control system to maintain safe distances from the detected bodies. In this paper, a human detection based on the color and depth data captured from onboard sensors is proposed. Moreover, the proposal of computing data association from the skeleton pose and a visual appearance measurement allows the tracking of multiple people with invariance to the scale, translation and rotation of the point of view with respect to the target objects. The system has been validated with real and simulation experiments, and the obtained results show the ability to track multiple individuals even after long-term disappearances. Furthermore, the simulations present the robustness of the implemented reactive control system as a promising tool for assisting the pilot to perform approaching maneuvers in a safe and smooth manner. View Full-Text
Keywords: multi-object tracking; UAV; rescue; reactive control multi-object tracking; UAV; rescue; reactive control

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Al-Kaff, A.; Gómez-Silva, M.J.; Moreno, F.M.; de la Escalera, A.; Armingol, J.M. An Appearance-Based Tracking Algorithm for Aerial Search and Rescue Purposes. Sensors 2019, 19, 652.

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