Police said on Wednesday that they'll tap artificial intelligence technology to track missing hikers with the launch of a new app at the end of this year.
The force noted that there’s been a jump in the number of calls for help from injured hikers to about 600 last year, tripling the figure in 2019.
Officers said currently, searches can be very challenging and can take anything from a few hours to a week because remote hiking trails often have no mobile coverage.
Senior superintendent Mohammed Swalikh said people should input the time, date and area of their activities into the new HKSOS app before their trip so that AI can work out where rescuers should look if they’re in danger.
"Tracking where a missing person has hiked, his walking speed, terrain, geographical conditions and weather... the AI can automatically predict where he may have gone," he said.
Swalikh added that once the SOS is triggered, the app will issue a unique signal detectable by multiple antenna technology so that rescuers can locate the hiker's whereabouts even when there's no mobile coverage.
"Once a hiker hits the SOS button in the app, or his emergency contact triggers a call for help to our officers through the app... our rescuers can detect the hiker's phone distress signal over a long distance with a radar."
Swalikh also pointed out that the app – which won medals in the latest edition of the International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva – will delete all relevant information 48 hours after the hiker’s trip ends.