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Autonomous Natural Disaster Relief Robotics

Raised toward our $2,000 Goal
22 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on April 09, at 12:59 AM EDT
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Autonomous Natural Disaster Relief Robotics


We are an undergraduate research group with a focus on designing, prototyping, and developing affordable unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for the purpose of locating humans during floods. Each year, tens of thousands of people are the victims of natural disasters. People living in underprivileged nations are at a much greater risk of dying from these disasters, in part due to a lack of immediately available resources. Rescue systems such as helicopters and search planes, while effective in covering a wide area, are expensive to purchase and operate. This limits which nations can use the systems. 

Our solution:

As part of the Gemstone Honors Program at the University of Maryland, we aim to promote equity in disaster relief by designing search and rescue UAVs which are cheaper than the current market alternatives, so that nations with lower GDPs are able to afford them. To achieve this, the team will use commercial systems. The rise of DIY quadcopters as a hobby has led to a significant decrease in the cost of UAV components. Furthermore, developments in computer vision (CV) systems allow for the automatic detection of survivors. Such a system means the UAV can be directly integrated into rescue teams without increasing workload.

What will team ANDRR be doing?

Over the course of our research, the team will develop the various systems that make up a rescue UAV, with a focus on reducing cost wherever possible. This includes materials such as a camera detection system, autopilot, and radio links. After these systems are complete, the team will integrate them into a final product capable of utilizing CV to search a given area for survivors. 

Your donations will go towards the components used in our UAV, allowing the team to test a wide variety of components to ensure we produce the most cost-effective system possible.

Progress so far:

    Up to this point, the team has been focused on exploring the basics of UAV and CV systems. We’ve begun to develop a CV system for use on a raspberry pi, a low cost processor. You can see the results of this system in the slideshow. Moving forward we aim to increase the processing speed using advanced computer chips. The team has also begun testing a number of quadcopter components, from motors to radio control systems. Team ANDRR has inherited a few quadcopters from previous Gemstone teams, ARMIT and SWARM-AI. While these systems require updating, they serve as a good starting point for component testing. Your donations will help the team update these systems with more capable and modern components.

Gifts in support of the University of Maryland are accepted and managed by the University of Maryland College Park Foundation, Inc., an affiliated 501(c)(3) organization authorized by the Board of Regents. Contributions to the University of Maryland are tax deductible as allowed by law. Please see your tax advisor for details.

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Electronics Package

Every aspect of the construction of our drone requires a variety of electronics, from basic wires, to motors, to batteries and more. Your contribution will help us cover the costs of these materials!


Sensor Package

Integral to the construction of our drone is the various sensors required to get it in the air and enable it to maneuver. Your contribution will go towards the purchasing of these essential sensors!


Drone Frame

In order to contain all the necessary pieces of our project, we need to construct the frame of the drone. Your contribution will support the costs associated with its construction!


Vision Package

We intend to stream video to our Computer Vision system to identify the location and situation of survivors, before informing rescue teams of their status. Your contribution will go towards the purchasing of cameras required to accomplish this!


Computing Package

The software utilized in our drone requires extensive hardware to be run. This contribution will go towards the acquisition of processors to handle the application of Computer Vision and autopilot!

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