FEU team deploying AI-powered drones for thermal scanning in checkpoints

The Far Eastern University (FEU) has announced that it is rolling out Project DWARM, an initiative that uses artificial intelligence-enabled drones to perform thermal scanning in checkpoints of some of the country’s major expressways.

Photo shows the DWARM team (from left) Angelito Espiritu Jr., Kent Laurence Rivera, Samantha Monique Bautista, Ma. Regiena Alejo and Khay Esguerra

Behind the project is DWARM Technologies, a start-up company composed of FEU Tech alumni Samantha Monique Bautista and Angelito Espiritu Jr., together with FEU Tech students Kent Laurence Rivera, Khay Esguerra and Ma. Regiena Alejo.

The team partnered with the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) and UPSCALE Innovation Hub to produce six drone units carrying an AI-powered thermal scanning system.

“Our technology was used before for detecting possible survivors in the aftermath of a calamity by using only a thermal camera for AI programming. As a solution for Covid-19, we combined two AI detections – a video camera for the detection of a person and a thermal camera for the recognition of heat signatures. With the new AI, the thermal cameras can now identify a person and measure his temperature,” explained Bautista, lead engineer of DWARM Technologies.

The group said DOST-PCIEERD plans to deploy the drone units along the checkpoints in both the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) to reduce queue times as the drones will be able to scan up to 10 persons at a time, immediately flagging anybody with a temperature of 37.5°C to the monitoring staff.

“With the use of DWARM, we aim to help fight Covid-19 by speeding up and improving the precision of thermal scanning at checkpoints and protect our uniformed and medical frontliners by minimizing direct contact to possible carriers,” added Bautista.

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