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Reporting period: 2019-05-01 to 2021-01-31

RESPONDRONE will develop and validate an integrated solution for first responders to easily operate a fleet of drones with multiple synchronized missions to enhance their situation assessment capacity and own protection. This System of Systems will simplify and accelerate situation assessment and sharing, decision making and operations management, while requiring a small crew to operate it. Moreover, it will deliver high-level information to any involved control centre through an intelligent web-based system that can be operated and accessed from a remote site as well as serving as on-demand airborne communications network to allow people on the ground to communicate with the command centre in case of cellular coverage collapse.
With these situational-awareness enhancing tools, emergency response teams will be able to more rapidly, effectively and efficiently respond to an emergency or disaster and therefore save more lives. The fleet of drones will provide enhanced capabilities to support assessment missions, search and rescue operations, as well as forest fire fighting. The deployment will still be very simple. Each fleet or unit of drones will be able to be operated by a single pilot and few observers. To ensure seamless uptake and adaption by first responder organizations, RESPONDRONE will be fully integrated and embedded within the current processes and procedures of real emergency response agencies and teams, among others through advanced training programs. Therefore, RESPONDRONE will increase the effectiveness and efficiency of civil protection operations as it will consider the first responder total mission time, cost, and effectiveness (and not just considering the deployment time).
RESPONDRONE will be demonstrated through participation in actual civil protection exercises on Corsica, involving several agencies simultaneously.
During the period covered by this Report, the RESPONDRONE consortium has worked mainly towards performing and achieving the following key activities:
• Development and submission of deliverables D1.1 D1.2 D1.3 D1.4 D1.5 D1.6 D1.7 D1.8 D1.9 D1.10 D1.11 D1.12 D2.1 D2.2 D3.1 D3.2 D3.3 D3.4 D4.1 D4.2 D5.1 D6.1 D6.3 D6.4 D7.1 D7.2 D7.3 D12.2 D12.3 D12.3(udt) D13.1 D13.1(udt) D13.2 D14.1 D14.2 D14.3 D15.1 D15.2 D15.3 D15.4 D15.5
• Elaborating, analyzing and determining end-user needs and necessities related to the RESPONDRONE system
• Extracting and defining specific RESPONDRONE system requirements
• Designing preliminary RESPONDRONE system mock-ups and sub-system interface definition
• Designing, building and (remotely) integrating the various subsystems of the RESPONDRONE system.
• Starting preparation of demonstration and training activities, as well as the integration of the RESPONDRONE platform within First Responder operations
• Starting work on the future development and commercialization of the RESPONDRONE system.
• Preparing and conducting multiple project-specific Face-to-Face and Virtual meetings
• Representing RESPONDRONE at conferences, fairs, and exhibitions
• Establishing a project identity including project website, multiple social media appearances as well as project brochure and roll-up poster
Despite the adverse circumstances created over the past by the global pandemic, at M21, the RESPONDRONE consortium is still on track in its endeavour to attain the impact that it set out to reach. A brief update for each level is provided below.

Societal Impact: Integration of technologies and the building of a System of Systems (SoS) as detailed in the DoA is on track. The intensive exchange with a variety of end-user agencies from different EU member states as part of the RESPONDRONE consortium guarantees the development of an enhanced and efficient SoS for crisis management. In addition, business development and Innovation initial research conducted in the framework of WP12 aims precisely to capture potential to increase employment and promote the creation of new entrepreneurial schemes in the fast-growing drone industry.

Contribution to EU policy: Under the leadership of its Coordinator (DLR) RESPONDRONE has been an active member of the network of H2020 projects focusing on the development of technologies for FR organisations. As a result, the DRS-02 cluster entailing the partner project ASSISTANCE, CURSOR, FASTER and INGENIOUS has been established. Moreover, RESPONDRONE has also participated in the Project to Policy Kick-Off Seminar (Brussels, 30/1/2020) organised by the EC, and in follow-up meeting organized by the PSCE (Public Safety Communication Europe), notably Clustering Webinar on New Technologies for First Responders, held on 3 December 2020. With the completion of the D8.1 Report “The regulatory landscape, gaps and challenges” and the ongoing research the project will contribute to enrich the knowledge base of the EU legislative process related to Civil Protection and formulate policy recommendations to improve the situation and lead to more harmonization.

Environmental Impact: End-users have registered their high expectations regarding the capability of the RESPONDRONE platform to help them protect their natural and cultural assets, and thereby reduce the environmental impact of disaster events. As an example, RESPONDRONE has presented their project outline in a dedicated virtual meeting to the Advisory Board member the Bavarian Red Cross in May 2020, and received high interest in their system. This was followed up by the participation of the ResponDrone Coordination team in a crisis situation seminar and exercise for end users in Northern Bavaria that lent considerable weight to the project’s value as a leading platform providing state-of-the-art situation awareness capabilities to First Responders.

Contribution to Standard: The active participation of RTD partners in the network of Horizon 2020 projects focusing on the development of technologies for FR and the activation of the project Advisory Board has paved the way for RESPONDRONE RTD partners to effectively contribute to the ongoing work of different standardization bodies. Especially the work done in WP2, where RESPONDRONE is going beyond the current JARUS standards and SORA procedures with regards to risk analysis will be an inspiration for further European-wide safety standards for drone deployment.