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FP7

DARIUS Report Summary

Project ID: 284851
Funded under: FP7-SECURITY
Country: United Kingdom

Final Report Summary - DARIUS (Deployable SAR Integrated Chain with Unmanned Systems)

Executive Summary:
DARIUS was a 3-year collaborative project that ran from March 2012 until February 2015. The project team comprised 14 partners from 7 countries, and included large industrial enterprises, small and medium sized enterprises, research organisations and educational establishments. The expertise of the partners was complemented with a User Advisory Board comprising a wide range of end users in relevant operations.

The project aimed to develop and demonstrate interoperability of unmanned air, ground and maritime vehicles in Search and Rescue (SAR) operations.

At the start of the project, unmanned systems through military programs and numerous Research and Development (R&D) projects were becoming operationally mature for civilian use. Their use in SAR operations could be envisaged to enhance first responder capabilities and intervene in hazardous areas. For cost and procedural reasons however, the market was still very fragmented and business models were unclear.

The project has leveraged previous R&D efforts on unmanned vehicle technologies for situation awareness by adapting and integrating those technologies for complex multi-national/agency SAR operations. The main objective of DARIUS was to reach effective levels of interoperability so these systems can be shared between several organizations. This objective was achieved by designing a Generic Ground Station (GGS) to provide command and control tasking of multiple unmanned vehicles simultaneously, with overall situation awareness and visualisation of the sensor outputs of the multiple unmanned vehicles. Associated data interface standards have been defined to ensure interoperability with a smooth and transparent data flow between the individual Ground Control Stations (GCS) of the unmanned platforms and the GGS where this information is orchestrated to providing the operator with a continuously updated common operational picture. The system was fully integrated in the command and control chain with a consistent communication network. In addition, DARIUS has adapted the existing unmanned systems and their payloads (air, ground and maritime) to the specificities of the Search and Rescue missions. The DARIUS solutions were evaluated in real conditions through 3 scenarios (earthquake, forest fire and maritime SAR) designed by the end-users.

The project has delivered a fully working, modular, scalable and sustainable prototype of a system of systems formed by heterogeneous and diverse unmanned platforms equipped with various payloads.
The DARIUS consortium has delivered several components that can significantly enhance SAR operations, either individually or in the context of the integrated system of systems. The DARIUS prototype required the adaptation and enhancement of the Ground Control Station software of several unmanned platforms (aerial, ground and marine) and payloads to enhance their capability and comply with the DARIUS common protocol in order to deliver a fully interoperable solution. A number of side products, having their own potential in SAR, were developed and delivered by the members of the consortium. These include the DARIUS common protocol, the portable tactical command post (Generic Ground Station), a portable sensor for detecting levels of dangerous chemicals, a 4G wireless telecommunication network (WiMAX), a Command and Control module for integrating SAR operations data with legacy command and control systems, and a mobile application.

Throughout the project there was continuous engagement with end users to ensure that the systems developed were fit for their intended purpose and will add real value to SAR missions.

A comprehensive exploitation plan has been developed, and the project team are committed to ensure that all stakeholders will achieve maximum benefit from the research project.

Project Context and Objectives:
At the start of the DARIUS project, unmanned systems through military programs and numerous Research and Development (R&D) projects were becoming operationally mature for civilian use. Their use in SAR operations could be envisaged to enhance first responder capabilities and intervene in hazardous areas. For cost and procedural reasons however, the market was still very fragmented and business models were unclear.

The project aimed to leverage previous R&D efforts on unmanned vehicle technologies and the added-value of unmanned systems by their adaptation and integration for use in complex multi-national/agency Search and Rescue (SAR) operations. The main objective of DARIUS was to reach effective levels of interoperability ensuring that such systems can be shared between several organizations. A Generic Ground Station (GGS) would be developed with associated proposed standards. The GGS may control several different types of unmanned vehicle platforms simultaneously with full integration in the command and control loop using a consistent communication network. In addition, DARIUS aimed to adapt existing unmanned vehicle systems and their payloads (air, ground and maritime) to the specificities of SAR missions. The DARIUS solutions would be evaluated in the field in the context of three scenarios (maritime, urban/earthquake and forest fire SAR), properly designed according to the requirements and suggestions provided by a wide representative panel of experienced end-users group.

The project had the following specific objectives:

• Develop interoperability solutions for the unmanned systems;

• Seamlessly integrate the unmanned platforms in the command and control loop (i.e. C2/C4I platforms);

• Provide and demonstrate the necessary communication structure without relying on existing infrastructure;

• Support the interaction between humans and systems, i.e. first responders, victims, unmanned vehicles and payloads;

• Develop a Generic Ground Station;

• Define the capability, deploy-ability and sustainability requirements for future SAR unmanned vehicles;

• Define and demonstrate operational performance improvements of current deployed solutions;

• Reduce the cost of unmanned SAR solutions.

Project Results:
During the first year of the project a multi-national, multi-agency User Advisory Board was established, and, through a series of meetings and workshops, the user requirements and concepts of operation were defined and documented. That activity has established a clear user demand for integration and interoperability as envisaged by DARIUS.

Taking account of those requirements, and the capabilities and limitations of the currently existing unmanned vehicle systems, the integrated system architecture, intercommunication, and human machine interface were defined and documented.

The adaptations of the unmanned vehicle systems and payloads, the development of the Generic Ground Station (GGS), the definition of the trials scenarios, and the planning and preparation for the trials execution commenced.

During the second year of the project the adaptations of the unmanned platforms and the development of the GGS continued, the definition of the trials scenarios was elaborated, and the planning and preparation for the trials execution continued.

A successful simulated maritime trial was carried out in June 2013 at the National Maritime College of Ireland using their ship bridge simulation facility, with good feedback from end users and excellent press coverage organized by the host.

A first version of the integrated system, comprising the Tactical Command Centre, Generic Ground Station, unmanned maritime surface vehicle, and unmanned aircraft (emulated by a manned aircraft with the unmanned aircraft systems on board but flown by a human pilot for safety and legal reasons) was successfully demonstrated in the maritime trial in France in December 2013, with much praise from the end users who were present.

A joint end-user conference with the ICARUS project took place in Brussels in February 2014.

The remaining development was completed in 2014, and an integrated system comprising the Generic Ground Station, two Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs), three Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) and interface to the upward Command, Control and Information (C2/C4I chain) was evaluated in a set of urban/indoor trials with simulated earthquake combined with industrial chemical accident over a 2-week period at two separate locations in France in May 2014. Again, there was much praise from the end users who were present, and valuable feedback was provided.

A final evaluation of an upgraded version of the complete system, with an additional fixed-wing UAV took place at a forest fire trial in Greece in October 2014, again with much praise from the end users.

A final end-user conference was held jointly with a number of other related projects in Crete in November 2014, providing the opportunity to share results and benefit from synergies between the projects, as well as providing the opportunities for all the projects to expand their networks to facilitate the exploitation of the results.

The main objective of DARIUS was to reach effective levels of interoperability so that the unmanned systems can be shared between several organizations in large complex multi-national SAR operations. That objective was achieved by designing a Generic Ground Station (GGS) to provide command and control tasking of multiple unmanned vehicles simultaneously, with overall situation awareness and visualisation of the sensor outputs of the multiple unmanned vehicles. Associated data interface standards have been defined to ensure interoperability with a smooth and transparent data flow between the individual Ground Control Stations (GCS) of the unmanned platforms and the GGS where this information is orchestrated to providing the operator with a continuously updated common operational picture. The system can be fully integrated in the command and control chain with a consistent communication network. In addition, DARIUS has adapted the existing unmanned systems and their payloads (air, ground and maritime) to the specificities of the Search and Rescue missions. The DARIUS solutions were evaluated in real conditions through the 3 scenarios (maritime, earthquake and forest fire SAR) designed by the end-users.

The project has delivered a fully working, modular, scalable and sustainable prototype of a system of systems formed by heterogeneous and diverse unmanned platforms equipped with various payloads.
The DARIUS consortium has delivered several components that can significantly enhance SAR operations, either individually or in the context of the integrated system of systems. The DARIUS prototype required the adaptation and enhancement of the Ground Control Station software of several unmanned platforms (aerial, ground and marine) and payloads to enhance their capability and comply with the DARIUS common protocol in order to deliver a fully interoperable solution. A number of side products, having their own potential in SAR, were developed and delivered by the members of the consortium. These include the DARIUS common protocol, the portable tactical command post (Generic Ground Station), a portable sensor for detecting levels of dangerous chemicals, a 4G wireless telecommunication network (WiMAX), a Command and Control module for integrating SAR operations data with legacy command and control systems, and a Web application tailored for mobile devices with asset monitoring functionality.

Potential Impact:
DARIUS will increase the effectiveness of rapid and coordinated response in Search and Rescue (SAR) operations. The project has confirmed and validated the potential of unmanned systems in large complex missions requiring interoperability and a coordinated response. The outputs of the project are targeted to provide measurable improvements in the effectiveness of SAR operations by targeting key bottlenecks in the use of unmanned systems. These include:

1. Improved technical Interoperability through use of the DARIUS protocol with standardised interfaces for information exchange; the Generic Ground Station to provide command and control tasking of the unmanned vehicles and overall situation awareness with visualisation of the sensor outputs from the vehicles; and integration in the legacy command and control chains.

2. Integration of the unmanned platforms in the tactical situation elaboration and update loop through the development of the First responders Shared Data Base (FSB) concept.

3. Improved procedural interoperability through the provision of a DARIUS solution that is flexible and adaptable to each type of procedure that may be used in different countries or in multi-national operations.

4. Improved Situational Awareness through an improved shared visual space which is central for developing mental models and facilitating team coordination. Situation awareness was previously a major bottle neck in SAR operations.

5. Rapidly deployable high bandwidth and reliable communication system providing a generic solution to access the unmanned platforms and on-board sensors.

6. Improvements in victim survivability through improved capabilities in the detection of persons through the implementation of multiple sensor sources, such as chemical, mobile phone detection, and Electro-Optic and Infra-Red (EO/IR) sensors and sound sensors. In addition, medical response to victims will be improved through remote sensing of the victim status, and provision of victim first aid kits and potentially psychological support.

7. Rapid deployability of the systems and their relative autonomy of use and maintenance on the field. All the unmanned systems potentially deployable using medium size helicopters without relying on pre-existing infrastructures.

List of Websites:

Contact: contact@darius-fp7.eu

Contact

Helen Eldridge, (Senior Commercial Officer)
Tel.: +44 1634 204175
E-mail
Record Number: 186817 / Last updated on: 2016-07-13