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Projects of the joint German-Austrian call 2013

AREAS - Aerial search & Rescue support and supErvision of inAccessible terrainS

|   Call 2017

Through the combined use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), sensors in the visible, infrared and multispectral ranges as well as laser scanners, an effective and efficient acquisition of information in inacessible terrains is achieved in real time. This reduces the risk for responder organisations and the resources required to gather information in the event of crises, disasters and damage situations.

Aerial information gathering offers substantial advantages in the framework of the Austrian National Crisis and Disaster Management (SKKM – Staatliches Krisen- und Katastrophenschutzmanagement) as it enables both fast attainment of the overall operational picture and in-depth insight at particular points of interest. Search and rescue missions in the framework of a disaster response represent a typical example for such use of aerial vehicles, which come along with substantial personnel and equipment costs (typically helicopters). In order to reduce the corresponding expenses and the efforts of the first responders, it is reasonable to consider accomplishing such missions using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) that are equipped with appropriate sensors, i.e., laser scanners, cameras for visible and infrared spectrum and multispectral cameras. Furthermore, the usage of UAVs bears great potential in the mitigation phase of the disaster management process, e.g., in the framework of the annual torrent inspections which are performed by the Austrian municipalities. In this way, potential damages inflicted upon important infrastructure, e.g., bridges, roads or even inhabited areas can reliably be avoided. Beyond the required efforts, it is important to underline that in the current setting torrent inspections are associated with non-negligible risks for the experts performing the procedure, as the corresponding terrains are often topologically very challenging. As a result, the project AREAS (Aerial search & Rescue support and supErvision of inAccessible terrainS) follows a modern research design in order to investigate UAV and sensor technologies for performing the addressed use cases in the most time- and resource-conservative manner. Apart from its focus on the precise formulation of all involved stakeholders’ (Federal Ministry of the Interior, Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism, Federal Ministry of Defense, Federal State of Styria, Federal State of Vorarlberg as well as further four federal states, the Austrian Association of Municipalities and the Bavarian Mountain Rescue Service as Letter of Intent partners) requirements and on the realization of a field-testable proof of concept, AREAS will follow an extensive interdisciplinary approach in order to address the societal and legal issues related to the use of UAVs in the context at hand. The performed research work regarding the required organizational measures, the legal framework and acceptance by the general population along with the results in the technological domain, especially regarding their realization as a proof of concept, will serve as a basis for a sustainable implementation and operationalization of AREAS in a nationwide context. The described paradigm will ensure that AREAS generates substantial contributions to the safety and well-being of the Austrian population in the years to come.

Project Coordinator

DI Alexander Preinerstorfer, BSc, MSc

AIT Austrian Institute of Technology

Project Partners

Amt der Steiermärkischen Landesregierung - Fachabteilung Katastrophenschutz und Landesverteidigung

DI Dr. Gerald Lichtenegger

Paulustorgasse 4, 8010 Graz

T +43 316 877 3507

Amt der Vorarlberger Landesregierung, Abteilung Ia - Fachbereich Landeswarnzentrale

Herbert Knünz

Römerstraße 15, A-6900 Bregenz

T +43 5574 511 21125

Bundesministerium für Inneres - Abteilung II/2 Einsatzangelegenheiten

ADir Peter Bamlitschka

Minoritenplatz 9, 1010 Wien

T +43 1 53126 3354

Bundesministerium für Nachhaltigkeit und Tourismus - Abteilung III/5 Wildbach- und Lawinenverbauung und Schutzwaldpolitik

DI Andreas Pichler

Marxergasse 2, 1030 Wien 

T +43 1 71100 

Bundesministerium für Landesverteidigung - Kommando Führungsunterstützung & Cyber Defence,

Institut für Militärisches GeoWesen

Bgdr Dr. TEICHMANN Friedrich, MMSc, MAS

Rossauerlände 1, 1090 WIEN

T +43 50201 10 33100

Austro Control Österreichische Gesellschaft für Zivilluftfahrt mbH

Martina Koller B.A.

Wagramer Str. 19, 1220 Wien

T +43 51703 7103

RIEGL Research Forschungsgesellschaft mbH

Dr. Martin Pfennigbauer

Riedenburgstr. 48, 3580 Horn

T +43 2982 4211

Institut für empirische Sozialforschung GmbH sowie IFES Feld GmbH

Mag. Christine Schuster-Himmel

Teinfaltstraße 8, 1010 Wien

T +43 - 1 - 54670 – 320

Universität Wien, Institut für Europarecht, Internationales Recht und Rechtsvergleichung, Arbeitsgruppe Rechtsinformatik

ao. Univ.-Prof. Mag. DDr. Erich Schweighofer

Schottenbastei 10-16/2/5, 1010 Wien

T +43 1 4277 35305


DI Alexander Preinerstorfer, BSc, MSc 


Information Management

Center for Digital Safety & Security

AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH 

Giefinggasse 4 | 1210 Wien | Austria