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Brigham Young University
CS Department Department of Computer Science

Research Projects

UAV-Enabled Wilderness Search and Rescue (WiSAR)

In collaboration with BYU's Human-Centered Machine Intelligence Lab and Multiple Agent Coordination and Control (MAGICC) lab, we are pursuing ways to enhance and analyze video from mini-UAVs so as to improve their usability by people. In particular, we are looking at ways to use these small, lightweight UAVs to assist search-and-rescue efforts in remote areas. We are also looking to adapt some of the results that have come out of that line of work to other UAV-based applications.


  • National Science Foundation, awards IIS-0534736 and IIS - 0812653.
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
  • Army SBIR topic A08-019 (Phases I and II).


  • Daniel Thornton
  • Carson Fenimore
  • Sam Ogden
  • Greg Aldredge
  • Damon Gerhardt
  • Cameron Engh
  • Stephen Cluff
  • Nathan Rasmussen
  • and many other students working with my collaborators


  • Michael Goodrich
  • Tim McLain
  • Randy Beard
  • Julie Adams (Vanderbilt)
  • Mark Duchaineau
  • Jonathan Cohen

Publications and Theses

M. A. Goodrich, B. S. Morse, C. Engh, J. L. Cooper, and J. A. Adams. Towards using UAVs in wilderness search and rescue: Lessons from field trials. Interaction Studies, 10(3), November 2009.

J. A. Adams, C. M. Humphrey, M. A. Goodrich, J. L. Cooper, B. S. Morse, C. Engh, and N. Rasmussen. Cognitive task analysis for developing UAV wilderness search support. Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making, 3(1):1-26, 2009.

N. Rasmussen, D. R. Thornton, and B. S. Morse. Enhancement of unusual color in aerial video sequences for assisting wilderness search and rescue. In IEEE International Conference on Image Processing (ICIP), October 2008.

B. S. Morse, D. Gerhardt, C. Engh, M. A. Goodrich, N. Rasmussen, D. Thornton, and D. Eggett. Application and evaluation of spatiotemporal enhancement of live aerial video using temporally local mosaics. In IEEE Computer Society Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), pages 18, June 2008.

M. A. Goodrich, B. S. Morse, D. Gerhardt, J. L. Cooper, J. Adams, C. Humphrey, and M. Quigley. Supporting wilderness search and rescue using a camera-equipped mini UAV. Journal of Field Robotics, 25(12):89110, January 2008.

N. Rasmussen, B. Morse, and C. Taylor. A fixed-wing mini-UAV system for aerial search operations. In AIAA GNC: Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference, August 2007.

D. Hubbard, B. Morse, C. Theodore, M. Tischler, and T. McLain. Performance evaluation of vision-based navigation and landing on a rotorcraft unmanned aerial vehicle. In WACV 07: Proceedings of the Eighth IEEE Workshop on Applications of Computer Vision. IEEE Computer Society, February 2007.

Research Projects

Reading Groups

  • None at the moment

Current Students

  • Jessica Greenland (M.S.)
  • David Hart (M.S.)
  • Patrick Hammond (M.S.)
  • Michael Whitney (M.S.)
  • Brian Davis (Ph.D)

Last modified: August 15, 2009. Maintained by Bryan Morse.

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