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Automatic Life Jacket Detection For Drones

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the eye-in-the-sky dept.

The Military 85

garymortimer writes "Sentient, an Australian company that makes drone software, has given UAVs the ability to search for small, high visibility objects such as life jackets. From the article: 'Kestrel Maritime is a software solution that processes electro-optical (EO) and infrared (IR) full motion video (FMV) from manned and unmanned vehicles (UAVs). The Life Jacket Detection enhances Kestrel Maritime EO capability to automatically detect small, high visibility objects whilst searching wide maritime areas.'"

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Life Jackets (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35264090)

THats fine when people wear them

Re:Life Jackets (0)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264292)

Yeah, clearly this is a waste of effort and they should have spent their resources making a drone submarine to pick up drowned people.

Re:Life Jackets (3, Insightful)

ISoldat53 (977164) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264388)

Life rafts and EPRBs on larger vessels tend to deploy automatically when a boat sinks. Having tried to locate an orange life raft from a fast moving jet, I know that they are nearly impossible to see. If this technology can locate something as small as a life jacket many lives could be saved.

Re:Life Jackets (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264444)

I think a bigger point to this than that is that as the cost of UAVs comes down and the practicality of running them off solar power increases, that these would allow for significantly improved searches for people that are lost at sea. In much of the world, the reality is that this is probably going to be more useful for recovering bodies than for picking up people that are still kicking, but there will be exceptions. A person just does not last very long in 40 degree water.

I'd be surprised if in the next 20 years it doesn't become common for a cruise ship to have one or two of these just in case.

Re:Life Jackets (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35265012)

A person just does not last very long in 40 degree water.

I'd be surprised if in the next 20 years it doesn't become common for a cruise ship to have one or two of these just in case.

A good immersion suit [google.com] can keep you alive for several hours, at least. There are documented survival times of over 24 hours at around 40 degrees F.

Cruise ships are more likely to have UAVs designed to watch for terrorist / pirate activity rather than purely personnel rescue. I've heard of (but not seen) this being actively researched. Having a humanitarian aspect might make them more palatable.

Re:Life Jackets (1)

Meski (774546) | more than 3 years ago | (#35275466)

The average life jacket doesn't include a good immersion suit. Particularly the ones that they demo every time you take off in an aircraft. (disregarding the other perils of being in an aircraft that just landed in an unexpected place/attitude.)

Re:Life Jackets (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267610)

It's already possible. A company makes an elongated RC blimp called the Hyperblimp that has already demonstrated solar-powered flight. These things are quite agile and have a decent payload - I think 6lbs has been done on the 30ft model, although I don't know what the solar panels themselves weigh.

New Techonlogy? (2)

Rylz (868268) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264098)

This can't be the first software of its kind... Five years ago, NASA was using much more subtle feature detection software in detecting interesting rocks and regions from satellite imagery of Mars. It seems like life jacket detection in oceans would be a much simpler reduction of that problem.

Re:New Techonlogy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35264378)

NASA software wasn't done on live video and not done in realtime while flying over the ocean.

NASA software is no good when you have to wait for a satellite photo, then wait for NASA to process the image and 30 days later tells you that someone was floating in the ocean in spot x..... too bad they are not there now!

Re:New Techonlogy? (1)

monkyyy (1901940) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264400)

maybe nasa`s didnt work to well but gave alot of false positives but got everything(they do have that manpower), and this try is just to better it

Re:New Techonlogy? (2)

Eevee (535658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264460)

Well, unless NASA isn't telling us something, there's not a whole lot of ocean on Mars. Spotting a static object without a major time limit isn't exactly the same as having to spot a moving object in choppy seas before the person drowns or freezes, while keeping enough fuel to return to base. (Yes, I watch too much Deadliest Catch.)

Re:New Techonlogy? (1)

Hojima (1228978) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264468)

It's news because in addition to detecting for objects such as life jackets, breakthroughs in analyzing software also has the ability to search for pairs of concentric circles located on anyone in a visible area, and prioritize them by size.

That's right I made a boob joke, go ahead and mod me down, it was worth it.

Get over it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35264624)

News flash!
Sorry to tell you but the USA is not the best in everything.
Go to your mamma's place and cry about it if you want but it was about time somebody told you the truth.

Re:New Techonlogy? (2)

rvw (755107) | more than 3 years ago | (#35265634)

This can't be the first software of its kind... Five years ago, NASA was using much more subtle feature detection software in detecting interesting rocks and regions from satellite imagery of Mars. It seems like life jacket detection in oceans would be a much simpler reduction of that problem.

In WWII, they used pigeons to do this. Simply train them to pick a button when they see an orange spot somewhere. Then reward them with some food. I wonder how this compares to the software, in price and performance.

Re:New Techonlogy? (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#35265732)

This can't be the first software of its kind... Five years ago, NASA was using much more subtle feature detection software in detecting interesting rocks and regions from satellite imagery of Mars. It seems like life jacket detection in oceans would be a much simpler reduction of that problem.

Yes, but what is the cover story that it was not used?

Re:New Techonlogy? (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267714)

Color detection. Glad to hear that someone, somewhere, managed to sell this software as "state of the art AI bleeding edge software". I hope it helped fund the parts that the investor may found "trivial" like navigation and control.

Seems good (3, Insightful)

serps (517783) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264100)

Nice positioning. Search and rescue staff will still fly around in helicopters with mk1 eyeballs because they don't trust the drone. However, while trying to sell the image-recognition package as a bolt-on to a heli will fail due to pushback from observers, selling in a drone package will be considerably more palatable, psychologically.

Re:Seems good (4, Interesting)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264260)

Search and Rescue also fly around with pigeons [susanscott.net] which are trained to peck at a button when they see life-jacket orange. They hit at a 90% rate compared to a human's 38%. Humans in helicopters? If your floating in the drink I think you'd be better off with a drone. Granted, a rescue chopper could pick you up as soon as they saw you, but at nearly a 2/3 chance of being missed?

Re:Seems good (2)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264304)

No no no. Helicopters are 'last mile'. To run the grid, use drones. XY the 'hits', then nuke^H^H^H^H rescue them.

Re:Seems good (2)

oPless (63249) | more than 3 years ago | (#35265754)

Use ^W it deletes words ;)

Re:Seems good (3, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267110)

Old habits are hard to break....

Re:Seems good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35268286)

Sure, if closing a document/app is considered deleting a word.

Re:Seems good (3, Insightful)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264732)

From your link:
"Alvin Wong believes the program would be less expensive today because trainers could use flight simulators to train the birds rather than taking them up in real helicopters."

Only if we could make flight sims with sufficient visual quality to fool a pigeon. Remember, our RGB monitors are adapted to our colour perception, they are not a good reproduction of reality.

Re:Seems good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35265696)

It is posts like yours that keep me coming back to slashdot!

Re:Seems good (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#35266454)

Accuracy isn't the only improvement drones could make. Speed is important too because obviously the faster you go the more area you can cover in a given time. Survival times in cold sea are not good so finding people quickly is vital to getting them out alive.

Higher altitude + more speed + better detection rates = more survivors, and the humans still get to be the heroes who pull people out of the water. Win-win?

Re:Seems good (1)

Solandri (704621) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264708)

Helicopters will full rescue crew are expensive to build and operate. I would imagine the best use of these drones would be to blanket the search grid. Instead of a handful of planes and helicopters doing lawnmower patterns over thousands of square miles of ocean, you could put a drone over every few dozen square miles. Use them to supplement the human search (or vice versa), and have the rescue helos check out any positive hits the drones report.

Re:Seems good (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35265330)

Only really acceptable to save money in this manner if the drones are large enough to drop a rescue raft or to act as a rescue raft themselves after making a splash down as near as practicable to the stranded person or persons.

Re:Seems good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35267244)

Drone drops a raft with a beacon on it. Consider it a rescue probe. The beacon attached to the raft has a big button, with some wording or graphic that makes it obvious to "turn knob and push for rescue!". Or maybe it's some floating containerized inflatable raft that needs to be opened in order to be used, and that process triggers the beacon. So if you have a positive hit, it's because the survivor activated the radio beacon and strobe light. A negative hit may still have a lower priority beacon so it would still be possible to recover a rescue package, but it wouldn't be the first one the helicopter would be dispatched to home in on if a positive hit is amongst the released rescue probes.

That way you can have your multiple drones canvassing an area, and have a higher allowance for false positives. That's because you've included a mechanism to verify the good positives, provided your drones find a living and conscious survivor.

Re:Seems good (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264980)

I doubt the drones will even be able to fly in the kind of conditions that cause most coastguard calls. Now for analyzing the video provided from the FLIR pod on the rescue copter, that's probably a great helper for the crew.

Re:Seems good (1)

garymortimer (1882326) | more than 3 years ago | (#35269464)

Well they are close to all weather, the UAS fighters en route certainly will (X47)

Re:Seems good (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#35270664)

Globalhawk's very cool but I doubt it could fly below cloud deck during a noreaster on the Bearing Sea as an example of what I'm talking about. In fact I doubt any fixed wing aircraft could do it.

Re:Seems good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35269550)

I work with drones all the time. Nobody who matters "doesn't trust" the drone, but drones really have nothing to do with this technology. It is mixing apples and oranges. Drones have an advantage in persistence, and that's about it. They are more expensive and manpower intensive than a comparably performing manned aircraft. The only thing "unmanned" is the air vehicle. The sensor and technology could just as easily be installed on a manned aircraft, but "UAV" is the hot buzzword that gets you money these days.

skynet (2)

soundhack (179543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264104)

Wow, I get that this has search and rescue applications, but the first time I read it I thought this was developed as a way to kill ejected pilots.

Too many flight sim games I guess.

Re:skynet (2)

e4g4 (533831) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264294)

search and rescue applications [...] I thought this was developed as a way to kill ejected pilots.

It seems ideally suited to both tasks...

Re:skynet (1)

eatvegetables (914186) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264312)

:) Same here. ... Al Qaida in Pakistan wearing bright yellow life vests? Huh? ....ohhhhhh, now I get it: search and rescue NOT search and destroy. Oh man, I think our war-focused culture is warping my mind.

Is this some sort of sick joke? (1, Troll)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264510)

Wow, I get that this has search and rescue applications, but the first time I read it I thought this was developed as a way to kill ejected pilots.

Exactly. I mean, these are *drones*, right? Since when is technology like this actually designed from the get-go for "good"?

Is this some sort of sick joke?

I for one am *not* amused by what is surly once again a sick, sick cruel abuse by the Military-Industrial Complex. Shame on garymortimer [suasnews.com] for submitting this astroturf, and even more shame on samzenpus for posting it.

They've got to you, haven't they, samzenpus? How much did they pay you?

Re: Is this some sort of sick joke? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35264664)

"Troll"?

Someone has too many mod points.

Seriously, WHOOOOOOOSH!

Re: Is this some sort of sick joke? (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 3 years ago | (#35265308)

everyone has too many mod points now that /. Is giving 15 at a time i got 2 consecutive periods of 15 points each after the new layout

Re: Is this some sort of sick joke? (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 3 years ago | (#35265924)

got 15 more today..
So it makes it a total of 45 , given consecutively for 3 time periods..:)

Re: Is this some sort of sick joke? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35264750)

Good grief, I wonder if the fucking MORON that modded the parent (slightly lame / slightly funny) joke as a "troll" has the fucking BALLS to post a response with their user name? Or perhaps they are simply male CUNTS?

Re:skynet (2)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264764)

Historically speaking pilots make excellent hostages.

Re:skynet (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264866)

Meh. Whose pilots are we gonna capture these days? Irans airforce probably wouldn't survive takeoff, and Kim Jong Il's boys would probably defect before we had a chance to shoot at them. Unless the Taliban has bought some crop-dusters, I don't think it's much of an issue for the next couple decades.

Re:skynet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35266588)

Just as well to start gambling on the visual spectrum of aliens.

Re:skynet (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#35265458)

You've got an enemy combatant - a highly trained one at that - alone and unarmed (or, at best, lightly armed) in the middle of the ocean. Why would you kill him when you could just as easily capture him?

Re:skynet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35267424)

I would hazard to guess that most air combat over water in the near future would be littoral. So any bailouts would be close to the shore, most likely near hostile (to us) countries. In that case killing the pilots would be better than letting them escape to land.

As for how many enemy combatants there will be, I would think that as China builds up their military (using our interest payments no less) there will be plenty of targets of opportunity.

Re:skynet (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#35272708)

    That's pretty much what I thought of when I saw the story too.

    Advanced technology is usually done for military purposes, not humanitarian ones.

    Equipping drones to detect people on the ground (or in the water) is more likely for targeting than for search and rescue.

restoring the balance... (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264132)

in b4 refugees!

*ducks for cover

Not just search and rescue (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264144)

High visibility is relative, in the IR band a speedboat full of pirates is high visibility. The military value of this could be huge. Regardless it looks like all coast guard and search and rescue ships will need to carry drones.

Re:Not just search and rescue (2)

LordNacho (1909280) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264182)

What about just having the drones based on land, flying around high-risk areas (possibly only when an alarm is raised), and when someone is found in the water, we send out a helicopter? I don't know about the economics, but my guess is that the drone fleet is reasonable enough in comparison to having a load of helicopters sent out each time a mayday is heard.

Re:Not just search and rescue (1)

black6host (469985) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264240)

"What about just having the drones based on land, flying around high-risk areas (possibly only when an alarm is raised), and when someone is found in the water, we send out a helicopter? I don't know about the economics, but my guess is that the drone fleet is reasonable enough in comparison to having a load of helicopters sent out each time a mayday is heard."

If a mayday is sent out (and for this argument let's assume it's legit, I don't know how many are sent that aren't.) There may not be time for drones to report back and then dispatch helicopters. Perhaps someone from the USCG or similar agency can add to this....

Re:Not just search and rescue (3, Informative)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264454)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northrop_Grumman_RQ-4_Global_Hawk [wikipedia.org]

"It can survey as much as 40,000 square miles (100,000 square kilometers) of terrain a day."

Performance
Maximum speed: 497.1 mph (800.0 km/h; 432.0 kn)
Cruise speed: 404 mph (351 kn; 650 km/h)
Range: 15,525 mi (13,491 nmi; 24,985 km)
Endurance: 36 hours
Service ceiling: 65,000 ft (19,812 m)

Faster than a helicopter, and with these new algorithms, better at finding people. I say we send the drones.

Better: Use both (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | more than 3 years ago | (#35266340)

Use both. The big problem on sea rescue is you have a lot, really a lot of sea to survey. So, the more eyes you have - human or electronic - for the work, better.

Re:Not just search and rescue (1)

izomiac (815208) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264472)

I'd imagine a helicopter could get there pretty quick, as the drones have a limited operating range and are flying in a search pattern rather than a bee-line to the victim. OTOH, I wonder how well the small drones will operate in stormy weather, when most ships run into trouble...

Re:Not just search and rescue (1)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | more than 3 years ago | (#35269422)

Drones can be built to handle worse weather than a human pilot could. Drones don't have the squishy-body limitation on sudden accelerations. You could do things like kick in a rocket engine for 2 seconds and do a 20 gee ballistic exit from a death spiral, etc.

Drones are cheap to fly. One vision of their use is to have the USCG maintain 24/7 patrols of the coast, with the drone on patrol and the rescue helicopter both dispatched to the scene when a mayday is received. The drone would usually arrive first and begin searching for survivors, and its findings would direct the helicopter to the point(s) of rescue.

A 24/7 drone patrol could also help with several other USCG responsibilities, such as preventing poaching in no fishing zones or by foreign fishing boats, actions against smugglers, actions against illegal dumping or pollution of coastal waters. Perhaps even monitoring whales and threatened shore birds, depending on how much sophistication can be brought to the data analysis.

Send in the drones!

Re:Not just search and rescue (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267122)

If you know where the mayday is then you just send a lifeboat and/or helicopter straight there. I doubt these drones will change that.

The problem is when you have a report of someone missing and/or a mayday from someone who is unable to provide their own location. You then have to search a potentially huge area to try and find them. Afaict there simply aren't the resources (at least here in the UK) to dispatch more than one or two search and rescue helicopters to an incident. If drones are cheaper than helicopters that means you can put more eyes (alibiet robotic ones) in the sky and hopefully get a position fix faster.

Re:Not just search and rescue (3, Insightful)

Kinky Bass Junk (880011) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264246)

Responding to mayday calls is never a matter of budget. It is always a matter of saving lives as quickly and safely as possible. While scrambling UAVs to search would be good to assist, you would still want to scramble a staffed rescue helicopter at the same time.

Re:Not just search and rescue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35264730)

the irony here is that people have become so attuned to corporations ruling their lives that they would support budget cuts for search and rescue operations. human lives have a maximum dollar amount attached, of course.

Re:Not just search and rescue (2)

jvonk (315830) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264888)

...human lives have a maximum dollar amount attached, of course.

Of course they do. Would you honestly argue that it would be practical to spend the entire GDP of the United States to save a single life?

I know this isn't precisely you meant by your sarcastic vituperation of corporatism, but your implication was absolute. If we can agree that "1 life per GDP of US" is above the upper bound of value of human life, then the debate becomes a matter of establishing what the real value is. I read this week in the NYT that US government agencies are currently pegging it in the 4 to 7 million USD range. Naturally, whether this is the appropriate valuation is open for debate.

Re:Not just search and rescue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35266366)

Indeed single payer healthcare systems often dig down a further layer, effectively putting a price on not just "lives saved" but lives somewhat improved. We're all going to die, so the issue isn't how many people died (still all of them) but how long they lived and what quality their lives had. A typical system is QALYs = Quality Adjusted Life Years. So a programme to make 20 year old blind people able to see may be worth a lot more than a programme to give 85 year olds with cancer an extra couple of weeks of life in constant pain. An operation that's 99% certain to give a 40 year old man 5-10 more years to see his kids grow up, may be worth more than an operation with a 1-in-100 chance of saving a premature baby's life.

Since resources are finite, only some of these things can be funded, and it makes sense to concentrate the money where it will do most good.

There is always a budget -- opportunity cost calls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35264896)

It should be, but unfortunately it often is not due to sentimental and irrational behavior.

Hypothetical situation: you are commanding an army at war-time. You are anticipating an attack on a key strategic point that could turn the tide of the war and it is currently being defended by 2,000 soldiers. Furthermore, the strategic point has a high civilian population that will most likely be massacred by the opposing army if they are allowed to capture it. Suddenly, you receive a report that one of your fighter jet pilots was forced to eject from his cockpit during a dogfight less than 10 miles away from the strategic point you are defending. Do you decide to divert 500 soldiers from your defense force in order to search for the missing pilot, knowing that by doing so you will risk losing the strategic advantage as well as the lives of the rest of your soldiers and the civilians you are defending?

My point: resources are always limited and EVERYTHING should be considered a matter of budget. Sometimes you have to make a small sacrifice in order to avoid larger sacrifices elsewhere. This applies to lots of different dilemmas, including non-military ones. For example: would you rather spend $1 million on an artificial heart valve that will allow a 60-year-old man to live for 5 more years, or spend $1 million to give 1,000 infant children access to food and basic healthcare, giving them a chance to live until adulthood that they wouldn't have otherwise had?

Re:Not just search and rescue (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267186)

The response to an individual call may not be but the availiable resources are. At a high level someone will have to decide what resources to spend the money available for search and rescue on. Someone else will have to decide how best to deploy those resources to the calls that are coming in at any moment.

Re:Not just search and rescue (1)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | more than 3 years ago | (#35269164)

Seems like a fleet of drones operating from a ship would be one way of dealing with the Somali pirate problem. Drones are cheap enough to operate that 24/7 high altitude surveillance of the pirate coast is possible, with other surveillance drones dispatched as needed to track any potential pirate boats. Armed drones could intercept a possible pirate boat that was approaching another vessel, and could sink the damn thing if it began to fire on its victim.

The drone pilots could be hired at cheap wages and trained at low cost-- there are more than enough kids out there who would jump at getting paid for their flight simulator skills. An obsolete air craft carrier could handle enough drones to patrol all of NE Africa and SW Asia. One ship with perhaps 100 drones in the air 24/7, a couple hundred spares in the hold, 300 civilian contractor flitesym "pilots" working 8 hour shifts, a dozen Air Force specialists to fly the only drones that carry ordinance, Command/Control personnel, and mechanics and support personnel. So a ship's complement of around 500.

A fairly cheap investment as these things go, and the more so as it should be possible to strong arm^W^W persuade insurance companies to help meet the costs. Ideally this would be done under the UN flag to pussyfoot around sovereignity issues in international waters. As I believe the USA is the major source of drones right now, there would be an immediate economic benefit to a country that is sorely in need of such things if the world's economies are to stabilize any time soon.

Addition to not instead of (1)

Billlagr (931034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264288)

It seems like it would be a good additional resource in SAR, not instead of manned helicopters and trained SAR personnel. There's a limit to the number of expensive helicopeters and costly trained crews, using these in conjunction would enable a lot more area to be covered quickly

Just this morning... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35264426)

Just this morning, people were up in arms about a software that could define one black blob from a different black blob, claiming one is a terror suspect. All from unmanned drone video.... So, this time it works, huh?

Just so long as (1)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264556)

Just so long as it works better than this software [slashdot.org] .

...And drop bombs on them.... (1)

Latinhypercube (935707) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264604)

"Sentient, an Australian company that makes drone software, has given UAVs the ability to search for small, high visibility objects such as life jackets."
And drop bombs on them

Redundant NIH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35264608)

Stupid technology. Pidgons do it already for bird seed. and really well to boot.

Re:Redundant NIH (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35265356)

Stupid technology. pigeons do it already for bird seed. and really well to boot.

Where else do you get to eat the poor performers?

They missed a couple (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264696)

Here, I'll fix it:

"The Life Jacket Detection (LJD) enhances Kestrel Maritime EO (KMEO) capability to automatically detect (CAD) small, high visibility objects (SHVOs) whilst searching (WS) wide maritime areas (WMAs)."

That should do it (TSDI).

Drone advantages, and further possibilities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35264794)

The Global Hawk drone has greater range, greater endurance, and greater speed than
any helicopter. The drone can get there quicker, search longer, and loiter longer once
the persons in distress are located.

Helicopters cannot loiter for many hours unless they use midair refueling, which is dangerous
in the best conditions and may not be possible in some conditions. The drone can stay on
site for many hours, with no refueling. In the worst case the drone can run out of fuel and
be lost, with no cost in human lives.

Since drones can carry weapons, I'd think they can also carry payloads
such as life rafts. I'd like to see a drone which would transmit live video to
a human controller who could then deploy a life raft in close proximity to the
persons in distress.

I also imagine drones being deployed in advance of distress calls; in certain weather
conditions it might be prudent to deploy drones so they would be in the air already
when a distress call comes in.

There's an app for that... (1)

incubbus13 (1631009) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264850)

Oh My God (OMG). That Is So Cool. (TISC) unmanned vehicle (UAV)/drone (drone) software(SW) for the win! (FTW!)

K.

At last! (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264890)

Now we can recover all those expensive life jackets.

Border patrol (1)

jmuzz (1953550) | more than 3 years ago | (#35264992)

This is developed by an Australian company, Australian governments interest is in "boat people" illegal immigrants detection, they currently fly around in P3 Orion's all day looking for rotting old boats on a one way trip from Indonesian waters. Drones are a massive cost saving there.

Search and rescue just makes it sound all nice, but the real application is in border protection, replacing expensive aircraft with cheap drones which can be in the air constantly and can cover a much larger area (check a map, overlay on Europe, its an enormous area). Helicopters aren't really used, dont have the range until a navy ship gets close.

Re:Border patrol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35266424)

Australia is surrounded on all sides by coast, and it spends a ridiculous amount of money on SAR. The COSPAS/SARSAT data makes it clear that distress signals are remarkably common in Australian waters, and though they don't show causes, I'd suspect that culturally people operating in that area have come to assume they will be rescued, much as they too often do in the UK, except the UK is a lot smaller.

Unless these "rotting old boats" have distress beacons and repeatedly trick SAR into thinking they're cargo vessels, fishing vessels, pleasure craft and various other ordinary seeming targets, the COSPAS/SARSAT data suggests that your problem isn't immigrants, it's your natives (or since that's also a pejorative term in Australia, your citizens, that is, you) being incompetent. You have way too many distress incidents, and causes like "out of fuel", "lost" and "fire" generally indicate poorly managed vessels. Take more people's licenses away, or if you don't issue licenses, start.

Let me get this straight... (1)

deapbluesea (1842210) | more than 3 years ago | (#35265522)

They can scan full motion video, in real time, looking for objects that are made up of a highly contrasting color? Isn't this just an HSV partitioning? My iPhone can do that in real time (actually, it's a 3G, so it can't do anything at all, thanks for the upgrades Steve).

Great! Even cheaper COTS solution.... (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 3 years ago | (#35272808)

So then the USCG will just snatch you, strap you and your phone to an UAV, and fly you out over the sea/ocean.
Hell, with you and your phone on board, they don't even have to send out a helo...just have the UAV dip down so you can grab the victim.
Get a grip....

COTS: Civilian/Citizen Off The Streets

Re:Great! Even cheaper COTS solution.... (1)

deapbluesea (1842210) | more than 3 years ago | (#35273438)

Get a grip on what? The plain fact of the matter is that the capability described by TFA is one that has been around since the beginning of computer vision research and is not worthy of the awe, wonder, and excitement espoused in other responses. It is a simple algorithm, and can run quickly on commodity hardware, but I guess since it says "UAV" in the title, everyone wants to salivate and clap and otherwise act like fools over old table scraps. THERE'S NOTHING NEW HERE /.!

Get a grip indeed.

drone rights (1)

peterxyz (315132) | more than 3 years ago | (#35265706)

How long until the drones spot that they're not wearing life jackets and start demanding them

Ob SMAC (1)

tonique (1176513) | more than 3 years ago | (#35266460)

Please don't go. The drones need you. They look up to you.

Bipolar treatment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35266728)

Excellent post – I found it to be intuitive. It was extremely comprehensive. Thanks.

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Actually (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 3 years ago | (#35266982)

I honestly thought this was going to be an article about military technology, since a (pathetic or humorous, take your pick) segment of insurgents seem to believe that wearing a "life jacket" is somehow protecting them from being shot.

Limits on drone technology (1)

squidflakes (905524) | more than 3 years ago | (#35271004)

Oh sure, the drone can spot you, call for help, and loiter around as long as it can to reassure you that, yes, someone is coming. I bet the drone could even have some supplies attached to a hard point, maybe a capsule with a life raft and five man-days worth of supplies suitable to the area.

Hell, I bet the drone could even act as a WiFi hotspot or wireless repeater. You wouldn't get pulled out of the water right away, but you could sure as hell post all about it on Facebook.

To save or to kill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35279366)

Glad to see Drones used for saving rather thank killing.

thanks (1)

erwin1230 (1957858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35297494)

Nice information and Writing blogs is one of the most powerful tools to add content on the site refreshing. Search engines such as those sites that is updated continuously. ======= Parking Sensors [backup-sensor.com]
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