The management of complex crisis situations, with natural, accidental or intentional origin, generally require the participation and coordination of multiple first responder organisations, including, but not limited to: firefighting units, police departments, medical emergency services, civil protection units and command and control centres.
This heterogeneous group of first responders provide a varied set of expertise to handle crisis situations and pose different requirements in terms of timeliness and relevance of the needed information and interoperability among the organisations. Moreover, communication and information sharing involving additional stakeholders, such as the population at risk, become relevant to increase the overall situation awareness and population involvement. Therefore, efficient response planning, including the development of realistic scenarios, and response coordination shall take into account this multi-disciplinary context in order to provide information and tools for the wide range of stakeholders which can have an active or passive role in crisis management. In this regard, efficient inter-organisational coordination among first responders is essential for improving preparedness of societies to cope with complex crisis situations.
Considering this multi-disciplinary context, there is the need to provide integrated tools which can address the requirements of the different first responders involved in disaster risk management and can enhance cooperation and inter-organisational coordination, based on technologies already existing or currently under development. This integrated solution shall:
HEIMDALL addresses the challenge of providing integrated tools for emergency planning and management, including the definition and sharing of multi-disciplinary scenarios, and addressing the needs of the involved first responders (firefighting units, police departments, medical emergency services, civil protection units and command and control centres) and relevant stakeholders in terms of interoperability, inter-organisational coordination and information sharing.
Swarm Exploration Group Tasks within HEIMDALL
The use of light drones - Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAV) – provides expert teams with an easily deployable and cost-efficient mobile sensor platform. MAVs can be deployed very fast and deliver information almost in real-time. A sensor platform will be developed and used that includes multiple autonomous MAVs intended for, but not limited to, monitoring and detection of forest fire hot spots, which otherwise cannot be detected from satellites, or when the use of piloted aerial vehicles is too costly or dangerous.
For the monitoring or inspection of a specific area, a small team is dispatched to the location of interest. On the site, a swarm controller defines a region of interest (ROI) using online Geographic Information System (GIS) data. The MAVs automatically partition the ROI into discrete cells, which are then inspected by the swarm members in an autonomous fashion, so as to minimize the exploration time, while at the same time avoiding collisions between MAVs. Using thermal sensor data a swarm can detect possible pockets of fire or potential hot spots, and communicate this information in real time via a swarm controller to a coordination centre, which can then trigger appropriate actions. For localization a swarm relies on Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) sensor data, as well as ground-based corrections based on real-time kinematics for accurate positioning. In addition to the thermal sensor data, MAVs will provide a coordination center with an online video stream.
Our efforts within HEIMDALL are primarily concentrated on two key challenges: (i) development of new algorithms and approaches for swarm exploration applications, and (ii) validation of the developed algorithm on hardware platforms in realistic environments.
HEIMDALL press releases