Drones for reconnaissance and rescue missions are vital to saving lives in the aftermath of a natural disaster. But for sudden, smaller incidents where human lives are on the line, there might be one drone that can act faster, guiding itself by people’s screams.
A team of researchers from Germany’s Fraunhofer FKIE institute managed to train a drone to recognize human screams and track them, arriving where they are faster than you think.
The reseearchers helped the drone distinguish human screams from other noises by creating a scream database first. At first, they recorded themselves screaming and making different sounds a person might do when in danger. Then, they fed an AI with all that data and modified the software to recognize the input data to other sounds that may appear similar but are in fact ambient noise.
The microphones used in their initial tests were smartphone-grade so they could make the drone as light as possible. With those, the custom drone managed to estimate a target’s location “within seconds” which is extremely encouraging.
Researchers plan to upgrade the microphones in the next testing phase. The goal is to help the drone recognize sounds from as far away as possible in order to help as many people as possible when it becomes publicly available.