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Cooperative Research and Innovation Projects >Call 2019 >


Self-organizing swarms of drones to support operations in disasters and in the search for missing persons

Innovative technical solutions for multimodal support of risk and disaster management, optimized operational management, efficient use of resources and reducing the risk to the emergency teams are becoming ever more important. Natural disasters that occur more and more often, including the associated search for missing people, pose ever greater challenges for the emergency services and the structures involved (ministries in charge, federal states, etc.). Situational assessment and measures for searching from the air are on the one hand essential to provide the fire brigade, army, rescue teams, etc. with the relevant information as a fundament for decision-making. On the other hand, they can bring about a significant reduction in the time required for the search, which is particularly important for injured persons. The aim is to provide a basis for decisions on how to cope with the situation along with the greatest possible protection of human life and critical infrastructure.  According technical solutions should enable the reduction of impact on environment and material, especially in forest fire situations (e.g. fighting embers) or in the search for missing persons.

Goals and innovation:
UASwarm aims at the use of autonomous, self-organizing UAS swarms (Unmanned Aircraft Systems, drones) as a monitoring system, which is able to provide information from an affected area in the above-mentioned scenarios in almost real time. This significantly supports the creation of a situational overview, the search for missing persons and the progress control of fire-fighting and rescue missions. Swarms save time and can cover larger areas than individual UAS. The advantage of self-organizing swarms compared to several individual, centrally controlled UAS (such as in drone shows) is the high adaptivity and resilience to dynamic changes in the environment and changes in the mission during its execution. Self-healing properties can cope with the failure of individual components without endangering the mission, and operation requires hardly any human intervention. This facilitates the integration into the processes of the emergency teams.

Important innovative components to be developed in UASwarm are swarm coordination of different UAS, navigation without GNSS(Global Navigation Satellite System)-signal, robust real-time and broadband communication in swarms (taking into account the possibilities of 5G technology, among others), swarm-enabled flight platforms, light multi-sensor platforms (VIS, NIR, etc.) tailored to the scenarios and AI-based real-time fusion as well as evaluation and information generation (situational overview) from data collected by the swarm. Important societal-, social-, and cultural aspects (e.g. acceptance by users, people affected, etc.) and the legal situation (regulatory framework for drones) will be considered from the very beginning of UASwarm.

Targeted results:
The aim of UASwarm is to set up an UAS swarm system demonstrator and to evaluate it in terms of performance and practical use (proof of concept) in the context of tests and demonstrations for the target scenarios (forest fire fighting support).

Project coordination: Dr. Andreas Kercek, Lakeside Labs GmbH

AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH
Institut f. Intelligente Systemtechnologien, Universität Klagenfurt
IFR - Ing. Richard Feischl
Agentur für Europäische Integration und wirtschaftliche Entwicklung GmbH
twins GmbH
LEADER Photonics GmbH
Freiwillige Feuerwehr Gumpoldskirchen
BMLV - Bundesministerium für Landesverteidigung 

Dr. Andreas Kercek
Lakeside Labs GmbH
Lakeside Park B04b
9020 Klagenfurt

Phone: +43 463 287044-33