This system for managing the search for missing persons, called DroneFinder, is already fully operational and will contribute to the rapid location of people with illnesses

Aeromedia, Indra and ITG develop a solution that uses drones and Artificial Intelligence to locate missing people in record time


The innovative solution developed by Aeromedia, Indra and ITG to locate missing persons in record time and save lives through the use of drones and Artificial Intelligence is now fully operational.  

  1. Uses and potential of DroneFinder
  2. Cutting-edge technological collaboration

The system, which has been promoted by the Galician Innovation Agency (GAIN) in the framework of the Galician Aerospace Pole and has been financed by the Xunta de Galicia, through FEDER Funds, has as end users the Galician Emergency Agency (AXEGA), State Security Forces and Bodies and social and health entities.

Uses and potential of DroneFinder

DroneFinder has been presented by the joint venture formed by Aeromedia, Indra and the Instituto Tecnológico de Galicia (ITG), in an event where its uses and potentialities have been presented. The event was attended by the President of the Xunta de Galicia, Alfonso Rueda; as well as the heads of the Regional Ministries of Presidency and Social Policy; representatives of companies, social and health entities, Civil Protection and State Security Forces and Corps. The solution has already been tested in different scenarios and use cases, both in peri-urban and rural and coastal areas, and in a total of 11 location and search missions in collaboration with AXEGA and members of the State Security Forces and Corps. 

In the words of Aquilino Abeal, manager of the UTE and director of Aeromedia, "DroneFinder is the result of the sum of knowledge of the different companies and technology centres that make up the ecosystem of the aerospace cluster in Galicia". 

Thus, the aim of this solution is to locate lost people in record time, since, for the success of this type of operation, the first 48 hours of search are vital, especially in the search for people with cognitive impairment, neurodegenerative diseases or people with disabilities. 

According to data from SOS Desaparecidos, 46% of people over 70 years of age who go missing in Spain suffer from Alzheimer's disease. In many cases, the outcome of these situations is fatal, despite the fact that most of the deceased were only 3 or 4 kilometres from their home or the place where they were last seen. Similarly, in the case of active tourism or natural disasters, accidents or situations in which a person gets lost and has no way of communicating their situation are frequent. 

To solve this problem, DroneFinder automatically analyses, in real time, large volumes of images collected by the dual video camera (RGB and thermal) integrated in the drones. To do this, it uses artificial intelligence software that has been trained on up to 40 hours of footage collected for this purpose. In addition, the system can also detect the person if he or she is wearing an electronic device, such as a smartwatch or a smartphone. At the same time, it sends a warning directly to the emergency teams, minimising response times and optimising the resources used in the search, thereby helping to save lives.


Cutting-edge technological collaboration

The company Aeromedia, specialised in RPAS (remotely piloted aircraft systems) services, has national experience in missing persons search services and provides both the hardware that allows the search through watches, smart bracelets or mobile phones, as well as the deployment of the search operation with UAVs. Hardware and software that includes an application for mobile devices to manage the activity of the search device personnel. These tracking devices (bracelets, watches...) are characterised by a battery life of up to two years, as well as by the monitoring capacity they provide from the user's home or place of stay. 

The leading Defence and Technology company Indra, which has developed the OPV (Optional Piloted Vehicle) TARGUS within the scope of the "Civil UAVs Initiative" of the Xunta de Galicia, offers its experience through a data processing centre that brings together all the information collected from different sources. The Missing Persons Search Management System (SGBPD) centralises and stores the data entries from the different systems and thus provides end users with an interface from which they can monitor in real time the capture of these data, making it possible to use them for later reproduction. It also allows 112 to access the proposed functionalities in real time from any place where there is an internet connection or mobile phone coverage.

The ITG Technology Centre contributes its extensive experience in Artificial Vision with a solution that provides the search team with an automated visual inspection of the images captured by the drones. A technology based on Artificial Intelligence that makes it possible to process and analyse in real time, without human intervention and both day and night, the images from the dual cameras (RGB and thermal) carried by the drones. AI algorithms that multiply the volume of images analysed in a short space of time, increasing the chances of locating missing persons. 

The DroneFinder project is promoted by the Xunta de Galicia in the framework of the Civil UAVs Initiative, within the Strategic Programme 2021-2025, and has been funded under the REACT-EU axis of the Galicia ERDF Operational Programme 2014-2020 as part of the European Union's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The technological solution will be fully operational by the end of 2023.