Can Drone Images Be Used to Identify People? Probably Not, UK Researchers Say

It’s a common science fiction theme that drones and other means of surveillance may someday be used to track individuals, using AI and teams of government officials to identify people from aerial images.  There’s no need to get nervous yet, though – a paper published by two UK-based researchers says that facial recognition from aerial footage – especially any method that requires a human being to try to match drone images with images from a passport or drivers license – isn’t particularly effective.

Matthew C. Fysh  and Markus Bindemann, both researchers from the School of Psychology at the University of Kent, published  a paper titled Person Identification from Drones by Humans: Insights from Cognitive Psychology on September 28, 2018.   The full article is available for download here.  Fysh and Bindemann concluded people have trouble performing facial recognition accurately from drone images.

Facial recognition is a well established method of surveillance that has been

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