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Search and Rescue: Emerging technologies for the Early location of Entrapped victims under Collapsed Structures and Advanced Wearables for risk assessment and First Responders Safety in SAR operations

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Search and Rescue (Search and Rescue: Emerging technologies for the Early location of Entrapped victims under Collapsed Structures and Advanced Wearables for risk assessment and First Responders Safety in SAR operations)

Reporting period: 2020-07-01 to 2021-06-30

Apart from earthquakes that usually result to catastrophic structural collapses, with many people entrapped or killed (e.g. Indonesia 2018, Japan 2011, Haiti 2010, Italy 2009, Greece 1999), there are also other causes that may result into a building’s collapse, such as an accidental explosion or a terrorist attack (e.g. 9/11) in public areas or critical infrastructures (airports etc.). Moreover, natural disasters like earthquakes may trigger technological disasters, such as industrial chemical release or even fires; this dynamic or “domino effect”, as it is called may pose tremendous risks to the countries and communities and hence it is a great challenge to cope with by the first responders and relevant organizations of civil protection. First responders and rescuers need specialized instrumentations, available to all times, easily accessible that meet stringent requirements in terms of detection accuracy, quick localization, and reduction of false alarms.

The SnR project designs, implements and tests, through a series of large scale pilot scenarios, a highly interoperable, modular open architecture platform for first responders, capitalising on the expertise and technological infrastructure from both COncORDE and IMPRESS FP7 projects.

The main objective of the SnR is to establish an efficient synchronisation framework managing the data, developed services and information flow between the different authorities involved in emergency management operations and the crisis managers (Rescue forces, Police, Fire- department, etc.). Adhoc web portals and additions to stakeholders’ systems and back-offices will provide a common, uniform and ubiquitous platform for collecting, analysing and sharing real time data from the sensors, drones and rescue robots for supporting management decisions. Federated security will enable access by different stakeholders to services provided by different stakeholders. Thus, SnR aspires to build a state of the art framework that will integrate:
1. Advanced sensors, systems and procedures to obtain high level awareness capabilities
2. Secured data collection and information flow between the different authorities and agencies which are involved in the crisis/abnormal events management
3. Fusion of data from different sources and creation of a Common Situational Picture for supporting decisions of emergency and crisis management
4. A multi-tier architecture of information processing, the result of which will be accessible in a ubiquitous manner by all the actors involved
During the first year of the SnR project (Μ1-Μ12), the consortium performed analyses of the state-of-the-art on relevant SAR technologies and of end-user requirements for several different domains of interest, for example on equipment, procedures, infrastructure, functional specifications, knowledge management, data aggregation etc. In order to do so, multiple meetings, questionnaires, workshops and reports were distributed and produced, with the entirety of the consortium participating, as well as multiple stakeholders around the globe. Particular attention has been paid on ethical and legal issues that are inherent with SAR missions, exercises, research involving human participants, the use of drones and autonomous vehicles, privacy and personal data, the management of data in the project etc.
From these specifications, significant effort has been put across multiple work packages to define the platform’s extensive service catalogue, its architecture, and initiate the design and the development of most of the platform’s components and features. Following both bottom-up and top-down approaches, from individual component specifications and the users’ requirements respectively, requirements for the interconnectivity and interoperability needs of these components were drafted and are being implemented.
At the same time, research work has been performed on various fields, including community resilience, involvement of civil society, volunteer organisations and promoting safety and security for first responders, as well as tests and development of experimental hardware and software components. The project’s findings are being disseminated via its channels, including various events, the project’s website, social media channels and a high production quality informational video.
Working together with scientific and technical partners, the pilot partners have produced uniformed and coordinated plans for the seven use-cases/pilot scenarios that will be tested in seven separate exercises. Through a significant effort to maximise the potential contribution of the exercises to the development of the project’s technologies, the partners have agreed to test more equipment and systems than initially planned for each scenario. To minimise costs, project meetings will be held just before each exercise.
The results-oriented approach for the scientific coordination of the project is to ensure the TRL of the project’s components and equipment is reached through the seven use-case scenarios where they are finally going to be validated. Challenges to this goal are overcome through ingenuity, innovation, cooperation, and flexibility.
International scientific cooperation and knowledge sharing is being achieved through various events. The “End-User Requirements and Beyond” workshop, which was attended by many end-users from around the world, was a major source of information exchange, merging the requirements from multiple environments. In the “Ethic Evaluation Standard for Security Research (EESSR)” workshops, ethical aspects of CBRN and non-CBRN environments were identified and classified for the corresponding equipment and technology used. The “Clustering Webinar on New Technologies for First Responders” advanced the understanding, the technical requirements and the needs of persons with disabilities as victims of SAR scenarios. High level experts contributed the disability-inclusive developments in the EU, as well as initiatives in humanitarian and search and rescue operations. In the Nicosia Risk Forum 2020 (December 2020), in which SnR contributed, assisted in the development of a network of government organizations, research institutes, universities and research organisations developing and promoting the protection and safety of society.

During the first year of the project a common framework for the development of the many SnR components and features was produced, expanding from a common conceptual system diagram with data aggregation at its core. It connects technologies, components, tasks and responsibilities with the overall system architecture. At the same time, technical partners created individual plans roadmaps for their components’ implementation and testing. From that point on, they started the preparation and development, which will be fully integrated to the final SnR platform in the second year. For software components, a shared code repository group is used for orchestration, adaptation, and deployment.
At the same time individual partners have been working on the technologies of which they are responsible, with some already submitted as demonstrators.
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