search and rescue, UAV, unmanned aerial vehicle


Current practice in Wilderness Search and Rescue (WiSAR) is analogous to an intelligent system designed to gather and analyze information to find missing persons in remote areas. The system consists of multiple parts — various tools for information management (maps, GPS, etc) distributed across personnel with different skills and responsibilities. Introducing a camera-equipped mini-UAV into this task requires autonomy and information technology that itself is an integrated intelligent system to be used by a sub-team that must be integrated into the overall intelligent system. In this paper, we identify key elements of the integration challenges along two dimensions: (a) attributes of intelligent system and (b) scale, meaning individual or group. We then present component technology that offload or supplement many responsibilities to autonomous systems, and finally describe how autonomy and information are integrated into user interfaces to better support distributed search across time and space. The integrated system was demoed for Utah County Search and Rescue personnel. A real searcher flew the UAV after minimal training and successfully located the simulated missing person in a wilderness area.

Original Publication Citation

L. Lin, M. Roscheck, M. A. Goodrich, and B. S. Morse, "Supporting wilderness search and rescue with integrated intelligence: Autonomy and information at the right time and the right place," in Twenty-Fourth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, Special Track on Integrated Intelligence, July 21.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL






Physical and Mathematical Sciences


Computer Science