Scientists may be on the verge of a major breakthrough in search and rescue (SAR), training drones to track people using their screams.
In life and death situations, such as when a natural disaster strikes, finding survivors is a race against the clock. To make matters worse, rescuers often have to proceed carefully and slowly to avoid making matters worse. For example, if people are trapped in the rubble following an earthquake, rescuers must move slowly and methodically to avoid causing any additional cave-ins.
Scientists may have found a solution, training drones to zero in on the sound of a person screaming and track the screams back to their source, according to The Washington Post.
Engineers at Germany’s Fraunhofer FKIE institute have already built a working prototype, and the initial results are promising.
“[Drones] can cover a larger area in a shorter period of time than rescuers or trained dogs on the ground,” Macarena Varela, one of the lead engineers, said. “If there’s a collapsed building, it can alert and assist rescuers. It can go places they can’t fly to or get to themselves.”
While the concept is absolutely brilliant, and the engineers are to be applauded for what they’re trying to accomplish, I for one can’t help but imagine bloodthirsty drones hunting down humans screaming and running for their lives, Skynet-style. Especially in view of recent reportswhere a military drone hunted humans down without authorization, I can’t help but wonder how long it will be until human scream-tracking is turned into a nightmarish Terminator scenario.