Using drones for post disaster search and rescue in Mozambique
The University of Portsmouth has been part of an international collaboration into the effectiveness of drones for post-disaster search and rescue missions in Mozambique.
The University of Portsmouth team, led by Professor Richard Teeuw, worked alongside teams from Mozambique, Canada, South Africa and Portugal, as well as a British International Search & Rescue (UK ISAR) team.
Drone photo of boats and a target person for the wide-area search experiment, wearing a blue shirt and blue hat. Credit: Patrick McKay, UN WFP
The experiment involved many types of drone – both fixed-wing and quadcopter – looking for targets on land and in water, with simultaneous flights over multiple sites. For a situational overview of the drone test area, the Portsmouth team provided imagery from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1 radar satellite and the PlanetScope micro-satellite constellation, as well as elevation data from the Japanese-American PALSAR radar satellite.
The University’s Global Earth Model (GEM) group provided expertise in coding and Big Data analytics, to produce a prototype app for faster interpretation of drone images, enabling more effective locating of people in need of post-disaster assistance.
This was one of the largest experiments ever conducted into the effectiveness of drones for wide-area searches.
Drone photo of a local hazard. Credit: Patrick McKay, UN WFP.