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A Search and Detection Autonomous Drone System: from Design to Implementation

by   Mohammadjavad Khosravi, et al.

Utilizing autonomous drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has shown great advantages over preceding methods in support of urgent scenarios such as search and rescue (SAR) and wildfire detection. In these operations, search efficiency in terms of the amount of time spent to find the target is crucial since with the passing of time the survivability of the missing person decreases or wildfire management becomes more difficult with disastrous consequences. In this work, it is considered a scenario where a drone is intended to search and detect a missing person (e.g., a hiker or a mountaineer) or a potential fire spot in a given area. In order to obtain the shortest path to the target, a general framework is provided to model the problem of target detection when the target's location is probabilistically known. To this end, two algorithms are proposed: Path planning and target detection. The path planning algorithm is based on Bayesian inference and the target detection is accomplished by means of a residual neural network (ResNet) trained on the image dataset captured by the drone as well as existing pictures and datasets on the web. Through simulation and experiment, the proposed path planning algorithm is compared with two benchmark algorithms. It is shown that the proposed algorithm significantly decreases the average time of the mission.


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