UAV borne acoustic searches undergo tests for missing people

Search Systems Responder with HydrophoneSearch Systems Ltd, a leading UAV manufacturer in the UK, has begun testing acoustic searches with their Responder UAV platform.

Combining the company’s fast response quadcopter with a microphone and audio recorder, the Responder audio search is designed to test the ability to find missing people under collapsed rubble, within unsafe buildings and other areas where rescuers cannot immediately access potentially trapped individuals. A live video feed with military grade encryption is also fed back to the search team while the pilot remotely controls the vehicle.

If successful, the audio search capability will be extended to the Mariner 600, a UAV-ROV crossover for remote underwater searches using a hydrophone to identify or track marine life or boat activity.

Michael Thompson, Sales Director of Search Systems and marine photographer, said, “Acoustic searches have been carried out for years, particularly underwater when tracking whales so it’s a logical step to add the functionality to UAVs. The real added value comes when we can position a vehicle over delicate surfaces such as collapsed buildings, mudslides or inside where it’s simply not safe to send in a dog or a rescue technician.”

Search Systems’ was founded by pilots and ex-military personnel, combining their knowledge of search and rescue and security to develop low cost vehicles for rapid searching in remote or dangerous locations.