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An innovative people localisation system for safe evacuation of large passenger ships

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - LYNCEUS2MARKET (An innovative people localisation system for safe evacuation of large passenger ships)

Reporting period: 2016-12-01 to 2018-11-30

Safe and efficient passenger evacuation in case of an emergency is a hot topic in the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) today in the aftermath of recent cruise ship and ferry tragedies that have received a significant amount of public attention. Even though the causes of these tragedies were different, they all highlighted in the most dramatic way the urgent need of robust technologies for efficient safe evacuation management. This was underlined by investigation reports stating that “Until technology is introduced into the preparation for abandonment phase, this stage will continue to be a weak link in the abandonment process – to the detriment of passenger and crew safety”.
Lynceus2Market meets this imperative need by introducing a number of technology products for safe and timely evacuation of large passenger ships. These products are aiming to fulfill the following two objectives, which would enable immediate response and action from the crew, and real-time situation monitoring and assessment by the officers.
A: On-board passenger and crew localisation/tracking during emergency evacuation from a ship
Lynceus2Market products allow the ship’s command to locate and track the passengers in real time in case of an emergency and provide this information to a centralized control system for an efficient assessment of the situation.
B: Passenger and crew localisation after abandoning the ship, for search and rescue.
Lynceus2Market provides an operationally validated solution to search and rescue through the development of an innovative system consisting of products and processes that build upon pioneering wireless communications, wearable sensor networks, low power embedded electronics, localisation algorithms and decision support system technologies.

Lynceus2Market has successfully demonstrated and validated its products through large scale demonstrations, and has equipped the involved partners’ cruise ships with innovative technology in the form of an integrated safe evacuation management system consisting of different technologies such as localisable life-jackets, bracelets and cabin key cards, smart smoke detector gateways, UAV and rescue-boat-mounted people localisation radars, people counting hand-held devices and intelligent decision support systems, providing a powerful solution for both on-board and overboard people localisation and tracking.
In order to successfully meet the Lynceus2Market objectives and goals, the consortium has undertaken a large number of innovation activities in the period between June 2015 and November 2018, which have led to several achievements in the following areas.
Large-scale people localisation in ship: Technological enhancements on the embedded devices have brought substantial improvements in localisation, low-power communication, and efficient networking. Optimisations of wireless modules and communication/ networking interfaces have entailed improvements in miniaturisation, hardware design, power management and packaging, achieving maximum compliance with user acceptance, and maximum adaptability with projected operational scenarios.
Passenger status monitoring: Behavioral alerting has been implemented, introducing the design of a “high-end” bracelet which integrates full functionalities, and targets special passenger groups.
Emergency progress/escalation: A significant number of technological enhancements for situation escalation monitoring were delivered, including redesign of data feed interfaces, introduction of visualisation-related and situation awareness algorithms for big-data.
Passenger counting and identification: Enhancements in the data exchange format, database synchronization, middleware architecture, output data structure and visual representation model were delivered. In order to comply with large passenger vessels, the interface of the counting and identification device was redesigned in order to be compatible with existing bracelets and key-cards used for cabin access and wireless onboard transactions.
Safe evacuation and emergency management decision support: We delivered enhancements in data fusion, decision support and expert system algorithms, localisation, tracking, mustering, counting and identifying subsystem design and logic. The central database schema was reformed, and a new data fusion logic was applied, to maximise efficiency. All enhancements were verified using large scale simulations with actual drill data, to ensure compliance to large passenger ship deployments.
People localisation in sea: Innovation activities included the development of both the technological amendments to the current state of the art (overboard tag and radar, new UAV design), as well as amendments to response procedures and practices.
Piloting and demonstration activities during this project have produced a large-scale deployment of the onboard and overboard systems, over a period that spanned for more than a calendar year, providing feedback and insight on the system capabilities, user-acceptance, and market penetration capacity.
Market replication activities involved reports by market-driver players and associations within the consortium, dissemination activities promoted the project results, and standardisation activities have initiated an ISO standard for onboard people localization. Finally, exploitation activities have led the consortium to prepare itself for market uptake in the near future.
The project provides significant technological progress, beyond the state-of-the-art, making a significant contribution towards decreasing the number of fatalities caused by maritime accidents and thus upgrading international maritime safety regimes, by introducing several technological solutions that address severe caveats in large passenger ship evacuation. Lynceus2Market significant impact has already been forecasted by many organisations closely monitoring the project, and has triggered positive responses from the industry and the IMO. The potential impact of the technologies that Lynceus2Market has demonstrated, was recognised by the European Commission which ranked the original Lynceus project as a success story and also highlighted it in a press release with the title ‘Safer cruise ships thanks to EU-funded research’ in which the Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn stated ‘These projects are good examples of how we are tackling issues that can make people's lives better – in this particular case even potentially saving lives.’
The Lynceus2Market technologies attracted major media attention, with Euronews and CNN both dedicating documentaries and rating our technologies as ‘Inventions that can change the world’. In addition to the above, IMO invited the consortium to present the technologies to its Maritime Safety Committee, which was a huge acknowledgment of the work performed but also an indication of the potential impact that the technologies will have in maritime safety. The international shipping industry also recognised the technologies developed by awarding the consortium with the prestigious leading Lloyd’s List Global Awards in the category of innovation. The above demonstrate the huge impact potential of the developed technologies, which the Lynceus2Market project has demonstrated in large scale.
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