Aid for victims in disaster zones

A drone with ears

research-news /

When a natural disaster such as an earthquake occurs, every minute counts. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are often used to assist the search for survivors as they can provide an initial overview of difficult-to-reach areas and help to detect victims — provided they are visible. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Communication, Information Processing and Ergonomics FKIE are now looking to close a gap in the provision of disaster management services with a new technology: In the future, drones equipped with microphone arrays will be able to precisely locate cries for help and other acoustic signals from victims from the air and supply information about their location to the rescue teams. This significantly increases the chances of a rapid rescue for victims who cannot be spotted by camera.