Digitalized Search and Rescue
Purpose and goal
Recco is manufacturing a radar reflector that is found in tens of millions of outdoor gears, and a scanner to search for these reflectors, in particular in avalanches. The research group at LiU is specialised in autonomous systems and robust localization algorithms. Digital Search and Rescue (DSAR) is a collaboration with the aim to develop an autonomous drone with a new drone-borne scanner. The application scope of this combination is much wider than only avalanches, which opens up for new market segments for Recco. LiU has gained valuable knowledge in drone-based radio scanning.
Expected results and effects
Recco has developed a new antenna prototype for the radar scanner. New radio modules are under development and a prototype has been used for the demonstrations. Evaluations indicate that further development is needed to reach the performance goals. LiU has developed a drone platform prepared for autonomous DSAR operations with Recco scanner and other types of radio scanners, and closed the loop from the analogue scanner to on-board computer to a backend with visualisation frontends. LiU has also studied how Bluetooth transmitters can be found by using a standard smartphone o the drone.
Planned approach and implementation
Development of the analogue electronics for the new radar detector and the new drone platform was performed in parallel on Recco and LiU, respectively. LiU also developed methods to localise a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) device using a standard smartphone mounted on a consumer grade drone. In this way, practical tests and student projects could be performed early in the project, and the backend could be developed and tested. The final integration of the scanner and drone was done without any major hurdles and some tests could be done before the final demonstration.