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AeroSee: Drone images to be used in crowdsourced search
AeroSee – a drone-based crowdsourcing search and rescue platform developed by the Civic Drone Centre – is due to be tested again in the search for a missing hiker in Norway.
Working with UAV organisation Iris Group, AeroSee will help in the search for 18 year-old Fredrik Johannessen Lie, who was known to be in the vicinity of Ekerhovd, on Sotra, Norway on January 1st 2015.
Fredrik’s vehicle was involved a road traffic incident, and the local press suggests he was last seen leaving the scene of the accident. Police and rescue teams joined the search for Frederik but despite combing several hundreds of acres of nearby forests and fields failed to find any trace of his whereabouts.
AeroSee takes still images from a UAV and allows a global community of search and rescue (SAR) ‘agents’, in this case 150 SAR professionals to identify missing people through ‘tagging’ the pictures…
The HTML5 browser based application runs cross platform and has been tested on a range of devices from desktop to mobile. The application has been designed to allow users to traverse and tag photos taken from the drone. They are asked to tag anything they suspect is Fredrik. This enables communities to search for missing people much quicker than deploying a team to physically cover the terrain. Due to the nature of the interface and requirements for the platform, inspiration was taken from Tinder, Facebook and Twitter. Currently the closed beta version is only open to search and rescue professionals.
Professor Paul Egglestone, who leads the Civic Drone Centre project from the Media Innovation Studio, said: “This is the first time the AeroSee project has been deployed in a real life search operation. The Civic Drone Centre works with companies, individuals and organisations that are using, or planning to use, remotely operated vehicles across a wide range of scenarios. It seeks to provide technology and know-how to these organisations, and collaborate with a range of partners – locally, nationally, and internationally – to explore and develop new technologies and knowledge in the civilian use of drones.
It operates as a joint project between the Media Innovation Studio, based in the School of Journalism, Language & Communication, and the Engineering Innovation Centre. Their multidisciplinary research focusses both on the technical challenges and the social issues of developing the next generation of drones.
Paul said, “The original AeroSee project encouraged ordinary citizens to join in the rescue operation. In this case our virtual search agents are not members of the public, they’re search and rescue professionals. Other than that the technology works in exactly the same way’.
Andrew Ireland is Executive Dean of College of Culture and Creative Industries, home to the Media Innovation Studio. He said “The AeroSee project represents the enormous potential in the UK HE sector, bringing together specialists from different disciplines to, in this example, refocus drone technology as a power for good. The fact that our crowd-sourcing approach delivers a faster response than a computer demonstrates the potential of exploring human / digital interactions.”
The new AeroSee search to find Fredrik will take place over the coming weeks.