Search and rescue (SAR) operations encompass the search for and provision of aid to people or objects that are in distress or imminent danger. SAR operations involve large ground teams, a centralized coordination and preferably aerial assistance. Traditionally, aerial assistance was provided by camera equipped helicopters that enable overviews of the search area and communicate the camera feed to the ground team.
Unmanned aircraft systems provide a cheaper, safer way to incorporate aerial assistance in SAR operations. These systems can be readily available due to their modest size, provide normal as well as thermal images, which can be downlinked real time enabling direct implementation and do not interfere with the operation as a result of their low noise footprint.