The concept of using drones to help locate people who are lost isn’t exactly new. This is because drones can be deployed easily and can high above ground, and their built-in cameras also means that they can be used to help spot people who are missing and who might be in trouble.

However this isn’t always effective, especially if a person gets lost in the thick of the woods where densely packed trees makes it difficult for a drone’s camera to see past them, or where GPS might be difficult to use, but this is something that researchers at MIT think that they might have overcome, and this is by using similar technology that can also be found in self-driving cars.

Basically in instances where GPS might not be as reliable, the researchers have turned to the use of LIDAR that will be capable of mapping an area without the need for GPS. The use of LIDAR will allow these drones to create a 2D map of the area, including trees, which will help it navigate a forest and also let it know when an area has already been covered.

However as the researchers note, there is a limitation to this technology and that is it will require a ground station for map merging, but the researchers are hoping that in the future they will be able to design a system where the drones can communicate with each other wirelessly to help fuse their maps together.

Filed in Robots. Read more about Drones.

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