AI is Improving Search and Rescue Operations Further
Sat, April 10, 2021

AI is Improving Search and Rescue Operations Further

Researchers are developing a platform powered by AI and machine learning algorithms to enable multiple drones to communicate with one another during search and rescue missions / Photo Credit: believeinme33 via Shutterstock

 

Our world experiences natural disasters every year, which affect livelihoods and kill people. ReliefWeb, the leading humanitarian information source on global crises and disasters, reported that there have been 315 natural disaster events recorded in 2018, which resulted in 11,804 deaths. Aside from that, economic losses reached $131.7 billion worldwide, affecting more than 68 million people across the world.

Natural disasters have also killed an average of 60,000 people per year over the last decade. Unfortunately, it’s hard to predict and prevent these events. The best thing we can do is to prepare before, during, and after natural disasters. This is where artificial intelligence comes in. AI helps people to better respond to natural disasters and save lives.

Researchers from Purdue University, led by aeronautics and astronautics professors Shaoshuai Mou and Dan DeLaurentis, recently announced that they are developing a platform that will use AI and machine learning algorithms to enable multiple drones to communicate with one another during search and rescue missions. 

“For the system, we focused on a multi-agent network of vehicles, which are diverse and can coordinate with each other. Such local coordination will allow them to work as a cohesive whole to accomplish complicated missions such as search and rescue,” Mou said. 

According to an article by Richard van Hooijdonk, a futurist and international keynote speaker, the researchers are envisioning to combine AI, machine learning algorithms, distributed control, and human-machine mixed autonomy to make drones highly adaptable to their surroundings. This would help them recognize their environment and make autonomous decisions to respond to problems/challenges adequately. 

At the same time, AI-enabled systems will enable human operators to adjust mission parameters manually if necessary while drones are providing them feedback and suggestions in natural language. “For complex situations, we still need to involve humans in the loop and try to do mixed autonomy consisting of machines and humans,” Mou added.