20
Apr

The 2017 Search and Rescue Conference will be held next month on the 24 May at The Star Hotel Gold Coast, (previously Jupiter’s) Queensland.  The conference again follows the Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference, running consecutively at the same venue.

Dr Mark Rice, Senior Engineering Fellow at Honeywell joins us next month on the Gold Coast to discuss ‘Micro Drones for Location Determination in Search and Rescue’.

There is great interest in the use of drones to gather sensor data and deliver message or physical packages to otherwise inaccessible locations.  Many types of drones are available and there is growing utility from low cost, micro drones.  One application is to assist in the location of a radio transmitter used as an emergency beacon.

The Cospas Sarsat system (C/S) monitors and detects activated beacons, providing location information on the scene of the incident.  This could be at sea, in the bush or from an aircraft. Australia’s Search and Rescue (SAR) efforts are challenged by the size of area covered; determining the precise location of the beacon, often in difficult to reach places, and situational awareness is crucial to a fast and appropriate response.  Distress signals can be located to within a few kilometres using signals from satellites carrying a special C/S payload.

A more accurate location is needed to allow the rescue party to get to the scene.  The beacon signal can be used for homing or with a direction finder (DF) to help pin-point the signal source.  It is feasible to mount an antenna and radio detector on the drone.  Signals can be streamed down to ground, information processed and integrated into a SAR management system.  A prototype is under construction with a small quadcopter to demonstrate the concept.

This provides a WiFi downlink for high definition video and other telemetry data.  Information from the drone sensors can be displayed on a mobile device with the rescue team.  An example visualisation using SARMaster will be presented.  This also supports management of drones as another search resource by tracking their location and usage.  Future directions for drone usage will be discussed.

For more information on the 2017 Search and Rescue Conference and to secure your spot, visit www.sar.anzdmc.com.au.

 



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