One of the essential elements of successful rescue missions is the ability to make good decisions quickly. But to make good decisions, reliable and precise information is necessary. Updated and relevant information about surroundings in natural environments, for example, can be difficult to obtain because of a terrain that is difficult to map. AI-powered drones may provide the solution.
LMT is working in collaboration with Riga Technical University to develop AI solutions that provide rescue teams with fast and reliable information from the rescue site. With the help of several sensors, drones are able to efficiently collect a large amount of data, process it quickly with the help of edge computing on the mobile network and deliver the information to the rescue service.
Though artificial intelligence could support rescue missions in a variety of ways, we've identified two use cases to focus on; search missions and forest fires.
Searches for missing persons often lead to locations that are difficult to access - both with limited lines of visibility, such as expansive forests, or locations where it's difficult for rescue service equipment to gain access or extremely expensive. In such situations, a drone equipped an infrared camera and trained with AI to recognize humans can be an enormous support.
Meanwhile the global threat of climate change has lead to a tragic increase in forest fires. Early warnings about forest fire development and monitoring, as well as surrounding infrastructure such as road access and available water sources, can help with combatting them - and significantly reducing the amount of damage done. Here, the drone equipped with an infrared camera can quickly provide the critical information to the first responders.
The drone + sensors + AI combination is set to become an indispensable tool to first responders and rescue teams. The applications are endless - from human search missions and forest fires to flooding and pollution monitoring.