I was lost in France

Well, Bonnie Tyler may have been ‘Lost in France’ in the popular hit of 1976 but should she get lost in Scotland in 2019 there would be an AI drone out looking for her!

Police Scotland have unveiled a remotely-piloted aircraft system (RPAS) to help find missing people. It is equipped with state-of-the-art optical and thermal imaging cameras (although they don’t appear to be properly weather-proofed).

What’s unusual is that it doesn’t need high power computing to do real time AI recognition, instead a mobile phone running an app is used. There’s not too much detail in their press release but I can imagine a drone to mobile phone link and then the mobile probably links in with a larger computing hub via GSM.

Apparently the software has been ‘taught’ by thousands of images taken from many orientations until the high resolution cameras can detect an individual from a handful of pixels (their words, not mine) fed to sophisticated recognition algos. Well, expect many false alarms is all I can say.

So, if you do become lost in Scotland, firstly hope it’s decent weather and secondly that you are within a GSM coverage area! Best of all, if you hear a sound like a nest of hornets, wave like mad!

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