Aerial Wilderness Search System

The University High School InvenTeam invented a communications system that attaches to an autonomous unmanned aerial drone to help locate lost hikers in remote wilderness areas. The system consists of the drone that flies over a pre-programmed search area scanning for a distress signal emitted by a wearable radio beacon transmitter worn by the missing person. The distance range for signal detection is up to 300 feet. Upon signal detection, a camera on the aircraft takes geo-tagged snapshots of the surrounding area. Image and GPS coordinate data are logged onto an SD card that is retrieved from the aircraft and analyzed by search and rescue (SAR) personnel. The system can reduce search times by 30-50% and costs 70-80% less when compared to traditional SAR techniques by enabling a more targeted and efficient rescue response. The aircraft with accessories costs $1,200 and the wearable radio beacon transmitter costs $25. Watch their 2015 EurekaFest Video