An Appearance-Based Tracking Algorithm for Aerial Search and Rescue Purposes Articles uri icon

publication date

  • February 2019

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 30


  • 3


  • 19

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1424-3210

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1424-8220


  • The automation of the Wilderness Search and Rescue (WiSAR) task aims for high levels of understanding of various scenery. In addition, working in unfriendly and complex environments may cause a time delay in the operation and consequently put human lives at stake. In order to address this problem, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), which provide potential support to the conventional methods, are used. These vehicles are provided with reliable human detection and tracking algorithms; in order to be able to find and track the bodies of the victims in complex environments, and a robust control system to maintain safe distances from the detected bodies. In this paper, a human detection based on the color and depth data captured from onboard sensors is proposed. Moreover, the proposal of computing data association from the skeleton pose and a visual appearance measurement allows the tracking of multiple people with invariance to the scale, translation and rotation of the point of view with respect to the target objects. The system has been validated with real and simulation experiments, and the obtained results show the ability to track multiple individuals even after long-term disappearances. Furthermore, the simulations present the robustness of the implemented reactive control system as a promising tool for assisting the pilot to perform approaching maneuvers in a safe and smooth manner.


  • Robotics and Industrial Informatics


  • multi-object tracking; uav; rescue; reactive control; collision-avoidance; object tracking; uav; association