Avalanche Search and Rescue Vehicle
Group MembersKieron Cunningham, Tom Davies, Ben Howorth, Gautier Le Calvez, Leo Nolan, Jack Sivyer
SupervisorsDr David Toal
SupportersMammut Sports Group
Every year about 100 people die from snow avalanches in Europe alone. In some regions, more than half of avalanche victims die within the first 15 minutes; the key to a successful rescue mission is speed. Current methods first require fellow skiers to carry out a very specific search routine, and if that fails, the deployment of experienced mountain rescue teams. Risk of injury is not subsided after an avalanche has occurred; the avalanche field and surrounding area are extremely hazardous and there have been numerous cases of rescue teams being buried by secondary avalanches. The current state of consumer technology is far more advanced than the archaic equipment utilised by rescuers. With a well-defined set of typical mission parameters, market research was conducted to gather data from mountain rescue experts around the world. It was decided that an autonomous swarm of multirotors tailored to mimic the current search techniques, but making it faster and safer, would be best suited for the job. Monte Carlo simulations were carried out to refine drone search parameters, a land-based testing platform using an image-based positioning system was designed to assess the vehicle communication and the unique path adjustment algorithm, and an air test platform was used to test candidate sensors for the final product and how the drone behaviour logic will interface with the flight computer software.