Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Drones Learn To Search Forest Trails for Lost People

10.02.2016

Researchers at the University of Zurich, the Università della Svizzera italiana, and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland have developed software enabling drones to autonomously detect and follow forest paths. With the new drones, missing persons can be found and rescued quickly in forests and mountain areas.

Every year, thousands of people lose their way in forests and mountain areas. In Switzerland alone, emergency centers respond to around 1,000 calls annually from injured and lost hikers. But drones can effectively complement the work of rescue services teams. Because they are inexpensive and can be rapidly deployed in large numbers, they substantially reduce the response time and the risk of injury to missing persons and rescue teams alike.


The newly developed software is based on an adaptive network.

UZH;USI;SUPSI


With the new drones, missing persons can be found and rescued quickly in forests and mountain areas.

UZH; USI; SUPSI

A group of researchers from the Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence and the University of Zurich has developed artificial intelligence software to teach a small quadrocopter to autonomously recognize and follow forest trails. A premiere in the fields of artificial intelligence and robotics, this success means drones could soon be used in parallel with rescue teams to accelerate the search for people lost in the wild.

Breakthrough: Drone Flies Autonomously in Demanding Terrain

... more about:
»Artificial Intelligence »Robotics »drone

“While drones flying at high altitudes are already being used commercially, drones cannot yet fly autonomously in complex environments, such as dense forests. In these environments, any little error may result in a crash, and robots need a powerful brain in order to make sense of the complex world around them,” says Prof. Davide Scaramuzza from the University of Zurich.

The drone used by the Swiss researchers observes the environment through a pair of small cameras, similar to those used in smartphones. Instead of relying on sophisticated sensors, their drone uses very powerful artificial-intelligence algorithms to interpret the images to recognize man-made trails. If a trail is visible, the software steers the drone in the corresponding direction. “Interpreting an image taken in a complex environment such as a forest is incredibly difficult for a computer," says Dr. Alessandro Giusti from the Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence. "Sometimes even humans struggle to find the trail!”

Successful Deep Neural Network Application

The Swiss team solved the problem using a so-called Deep Neural Network, a computer algorithm that learns to solve complex tasks from a set of “training examples,” much like a brain learns from experience. In order to gather enough data to “train” their algorithms, the team hiked several hours along different trails in the Swiss Alps and took more than 20 thousand images of trails using cameras attached to a helmet. The effort paid off: When tested on a new, previously unseen trail, the deep neural network was able to find the correct direction in 85% of cases; in comparison, humans faced with the same task guessed correctly 82% of the time.

Professor Juergen Schmidhuber, Scientific Director at the Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence says: “Our lab has been working on deep learning in neural networks since the early 1990s. Today I am happy to find our lab’s methods not only in numerous real-world applications such as speech recognition on smartphones, but also in lightweight robots such as drones. Robotics will see an explosion of applications of deep neural networks in coming years.”

The research team warns that much work is still needed before a fully autonomous fleet will be able to swarm forests in search of missing people. Professor Luca Maria Gambardella, director of the “Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence” in Lugano remarks: “Many technological issues must be overcome before the most ambitious applications can become a reality. But small flying robots are incredibly versatile, and the field is advancing at an unseen pace. One day robots will work side by side with human rescuers to make our lives safer." Prof. Davide Scaramuzza from the University of Zurich adds: “Now that our drones have learned to recognize and follow forest trails, we must teach them to recognize humans.”


Literature:

Alessandro Giusti, Jérôme Guzzi, Dan C. Ciresan, Fang-Lin He, Juan P. Rodríguez, Flavio Fontana, Matthias Faessler, Christian Forster, Jürgen Schmidhuber, Gianni Di Caro, Davide Scaramuzza, and Luca M. Gambardella. A Machine Learning Approach to Visual Perception of Forest Trails for Mobile Robots. IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters. 9 February 2015 Doi: 10.1109/LRA.2015.2509024


Narrated video: https://youtu.be/umRdt3zGgpU

Website link: http://bit.ly/perceivingtrails


Contact:

Prof. Davide Scaramuzza
University of Zurich
Director of the Robotics and Perception Group
Institute of Informatics
Phone: +41 44 635 24 09
E-mail: sdavide@ifi.uzh.ch

Prof. Luca Maria Gambardella
Director of the Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence
Phone: +41 58 666 66 63
E-mail: luca.gambardella@supsi.ch

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.mediadesk.uzh.ch/articles/2016/drohnen-suchen-selbstaendig-auf-waldwe...

Nathalie Huber | Universität Zürich

Further reports about: Artificial Intelligence Robotics drone

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Seeing the forest through the trees with a new LiDAR system
28.06.2017 | The Optical Society

nachricht Drones that drive
27.06.2017 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology, CSAIL

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersensitive through quantum entanglement

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders

28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>