Acoustic Source Localization of Emergency Signals from UAVs

From the video description

In search and rescue missions, Micro Air Vehicles (MAV's) can assist rescuers to faster locate victims inside a large search area and to coordinate their efforts. Acoustic signals play an important role in outdoor rescue operations. Emergency whistles, as found on most aircraft life vests, are commonly carried by people engaging in outdoor activities, and are also used by rescue teams, as they allow to signal reliably over long distances and far beyond visibility. For a MAV involved in such missions, the ability to locate the source of a distress sound signal, such as an emergency whistle blown by a person in need of help, is therefore significantly important and would allow the localization of victims and rescuers during night time, through foliage and in adverse conditions such as dust, fog and smoke.
In this work we present a sound source localization system for a MAV to locate narrow-band sound sources on the ground, such as the sound of a whistle or personal alarm.

Basiri, M., Schill, F., Lima, P. U., & Floreano, D. (2012, October). Robust acoustic source localization of emergency signals from Micro Air Vehicles. In Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2012 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on (pp. 4737-4742). IEEE.

(Via Robots Dreams)

Views: 2057

Comment by Gary Mortimer on December 11, 2013 at 7:22pm

That's what they use to find sniper shots.

Comment by Petrus Botha on December 12, 2013 at 12:59am
Same concept as we ( have developed to detect and localise poachers making their shot and then react to that shot with UAV's as first reaction and to provide situational awareness for ground force members and rangers to apprehend the poacher(s). Our system uses ground based sensors to detect gunshots in a very large area.
Comment by Darren Royle on December 12, 2013 at 1:49am

nice to see another positive UAV story

Comment by Euan Ramsay on December 12, 2013 at 5:18am
I need this for Will enquire to see if interested in "synergy".

Comment by Gary Mortimer on December 12, 2013 at 5:49am

@Petrus perhaps that's why vets dart guns being almost silent have become the weapon of choice.

Comment by Petrus Botha on December 12, 2013 at 7:01am

@ Gary, that technique is not so much in use anymore. In this year alone the mentioned technique of poaching accounts for less than 1% of all poaching incidents. All others were done with high calibre rifles, home made silencers with a <5 db attenuation in SPL. With our system we can already locate a gunshot from over 1km away during the day and even more at night.


This post which indicates the use of acoustic detection and localisation will be extremely successful, especially if you are searching for just one specific sound like a whistle which has a fixed tone at a fixed frequency(unlike gunshots). Using just 1 uav will provide a bearing to the sound source and triangulating the bearing from a 2nd uav will provide a fixed position. Well done!

Comment by Flying Monkey on December 12, 2013 at 12:45pm

Very nice solution!  I'm curious, whats the affect of the UAVs prop/motor noise on the system?  Do you need to stop the motor and glide to get the best audio, or is it cancelled out?  In the video, it kinda sounded like the motor was automatically reducing throttle every time the whistle blew but thats only a guess?  Would it be better to move the microphones out to the wingtips, further from prop noise?

Comment by Petrus Botha on December 12, 2013 at 2:09pm
Flying monkey, i guess that they will be cutting the whining sound made by both the motor noise and oncomming wind by using bandpass filters which means that the microphone array can be situated anywhere on the airplane. By doing an fft of all incomming sound and matching that against a known sound( a whistle in this case) it would be easy to determine the source location of the sound by doing tdoa ( time difference of arrival). This can easily be done on an Arduino AVR processor
Comment by Flying Monkey on December 12, 2013 at 2:24pm

Very cool!

Comment by Chris T on December 12, 2013 at 3:23pm

Anyway to make something like this using Arduino perhaps? Would be great to have coordinates for a specific event (In Mission Planner ) relative to a GPS location!


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