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  • Periodic Report Summary 2 - INACHUS (Technological and Methodological Solutions for Integrated Wide Area Situation Awareness and Survivor Localisation to Support Search and Rescue Teams)

Periodic Report Summary 2 - INACHUS (Technological and Methodological Solutions for Integrated Wide Area Situation Awareness and Survivor Localisation to Support Search and Rescue Teams)

Project Context and Objectives:
INACHUS aims to achieve a significant time reduction related to Urban Search and Rescue (USaR) phase by providing wide-area situation awareness solutions for improved detection and localisation of the trapped victims assisted by simulation tools for predicting structural failures and a holistic decision support mechanism incorporating operational procedures and resources of relevant actors.
INACHUS will provide:
1. Simulation tools for estimating the locations of survival spaces (after a structural collapse) and identify the location of survivors for different construction types and building materials
2. Decision and planning modules for advanced casualty and damage estimation that will be based on input coming from airborne and ground-based laser-scanning and imaging data
3. Integration of i) existing and novel sensors (electromagnetic, vision, chemical) for detecting and high-accurate localisation and ii) mobile phones signals for estimating the number of the trapped humans
4. A snake robot mechanism (integrated with the sensors) to penetrate inside the rubble to locate more accurately trapped victims
5. A robust, resilient and interoperable communication platform to ensure that the sensors data can reach the command center
6. Enhanced data analysis techniques and 3-D visualization tool of the mission place to be operated by the crisis managers and the decision makers. A suitable decision support system will be used for planning & managing complex USaR operations
7. System Integration of all the aforementioned software and hardware subcomponents (INACHUS platform)
8. Contribution to standards: interaction with international organizations and public authorities in the fields of USaR, through an early defined and developed User Group, to ensure strong links with the user communities and standardisation bodies
9. Consideration of societal impacts and legal/ethical issues of the proposed solution at the onset of the project feeding into the technical solutions
10. Numerous field and simulated tests properly designed and executed for presenting the capabilities of the INACHUS integrated platform
11. Appropriate training package and extensive training courses to the First Responders.
The INACHUS methodology is user-centric, involving end-users as much and as often as possible. End-users (First Responders, FRs and Urban Search and Rescue, USaR teams) are regularly consulted to collect insights, needs and remarks. Based on these requirements, the INACHUS project carefully designs, implements and evaluates, with end-users, a seamlessly integrated platform which provides the appropriate tools to enable FRs and USaR crews to respond to varied abnormal events, not limited to a specific emergency case or crisis event. Reflecting the nature of the work, the INACHUS is organized in 12 Work Packages (WPs) each with a set of deliverables and milestones. The WPs follow the logical phases of the implementation of the project, and include consortium management and assessment of progress and results.

Project Results:
WP1: All deliverables and milestones were achieved by M12. The remaining three months where WP1 was open was used to stay in contact with end users and create a non-technical shared understanding among project partners about the uses and goals of the components they are developing.

WP2: All four tasks of WP2 are now complete. T2.3 delivered D2.1 "INACHUS System Architecture" on time. The work performed in the context of T2.4 included the definition of the integration framework (D2.2)

WP3: In the current working period the first four tasks were active. As the main result, a comparative simulation of suited collapse cases with the three different numerical methods, used within WP3, was perfomed to assess the accuracy and the capabilities of the methods. The outcomes are reported in D3.2.

WP4: The second period was dedicated to develop the prototypes to retrieve 3D data from buildings or wide areas using static or aerial laser cameras and image analysis by drones (D4.1). The links between all the tasks and the other WPs were enhanced in order to give a global overview of the area to the USaR team.

WP5: During the second period the work in WP5 can be summarized as follows:

Two deliverables were achieved
D5.1 - Prioritization of search areas by means of personal handset positioning
D5.2 - Performance of ground-based seismic and acoustic sensors.

Main technical achievements
Tested and validated strategies for detecting mobile phones in rubble pile
Completed the 3rd (final) electronic nose prototype
Developed a victim detection algorithm based thermal (LWIR) imagery
Completed a ground-based seismic system
Completed a robot radar prototype
Completed mechanical and electronical design of the INACHUS robot

WP6: All the tasks in WP6 were active. Key achievements are:

o Definition and implementation of the API within WP6 in order to facilitate data communication among the different components.

o Design and development of the Android ESS application and the corresponding backend for efficient management (storage and retrieval) of information from the databases.

o First setup the whole development environment and to develop a preliminary version of the Android application, Portal and COP application to demonstrated during table top exercise and Pilot 1 events.

WP7: Significant progress has been made in all active tasks:

o Design and implementation of the mobile gateway using a low-cost communication board and interfaces, respecting the INACHUS technical requirements and the architecture.

o Revision of INACHUS communication security requirements and both evaluate and analyse the current security solutions and standards.

o Evaluation of different RTLS technologies and protocols for this specific framework and scenario requirements.

WP8: First the development of traceability tools for the individual verification and technical validation before the integration (the Verification Cross Reference Matrix) and the partial development of all the interface control documents required for the next steps: the integration process itself based on individual validated components.

WP9: During second period, the table top exercise and the first pilot of the INACHUS project were successfully performed.

WP10: One deliverable related to training activities was submitted (D10.2: Training development Plan). The first field test, held in Stockholm in June was a great opportunity for dissemination activities toward end users, USaR community and stakeholder community: press release, social media activities (Facebook, Tweeter, LinkedIn and YouTube Channel were largely active), web site updating.

WP11: 1) Two technical bodies, related to INACHUS activities and outcomes have been identified, 2) Established collaboration with NQIS/ELOT (Hellenic Body for Standardization), 3) Technology Implementation Questionnaire was completed and 4) Potential market sectors were identified for pre-commercial procurement exploitation.
Potential Impact:
INACHUS will provide a robust, resilient and secure platform for the provision of specialised ad-hoc services, facilities and support for first responders that operate at crises scenes. The platform includes the development of ad-hoc IT and communications subsystems for FRs to be carried in the field of operations. What is of particular importance is the fact that accompanying sub-systems will be deployable and operational within a short time after a given disaster. The rapid and effective set-up of the INACHUS platform will enhance the operational capacity of the first responders and rescue crews. The increased effectiveness of FR operations through the employment of INACHUS leads to:
- Increased situation awareness
- Fast response of the communication infrastructure (e.g. priority services and QoS)
- Increased communications coverage with ad-hoc networking capabilities,
Overall, these enhancements will fend for the reduction of injury and loss of life of the FRs and ultimately civilians by gaining faster, more accurate and safer localisation information and supporting guidance information.

Specifically, the INACHUS simulation and visualisations methods will provide accurate prediction models of collapsed structures allowing the best assessment of survival spaces, and the determination of rescue routes for fast access to survivors and their safe extraction. These will be addressed in WP3 and WP4. Furthermore, the innovative sensing elements developed within the context of WP5 will determine the maximum likelihood of surviving humans using a combination of elements, such as radar, chemical sensing, motion detection, IR cameras, and mobile phone detection. Easier access to the survivor locations will be achieved by the snake robot. Finally, the intelligent processing – as conducted within WP6 – of the diverse information coming from these components will provide the highest probability of the location of actual surviving victims, leading to improved abilities for their rescue.

Improved Command and Control Decision Making: Command and control operations of complex USaR missions based on innovative simulation tools, wide-area surveillance systems of areas stroken by large-scale disasters and advanced sensors for detecting trapped alive humans under rubble stand to gain the most from the INACHUS system. At present, individual EU emergency services are some of the best in the world, and enjoy the use of the latest technological means and operational protocols to conduct their tasks with the utmost effectiveness. INACHUS’ holistic approach in providing a system to monitor and control USaR operations will significantly reduce the level of ambiguity governing the operational environment of USaR crews. Thus, USaR crews, fire brigades, and medical emergency teams that currently use outdated mechanisms to interface with each other will be turned, using INACHUS, into one coherent force, eliminating the duplicate application of force, sharing intelligence and information as it becomes available. INACHUS contribution, however, will not be limited to this—its decision support features will help decision makers at command and control centers not only exert more centralized control over their forces, but to use this control in better ways in order to make better more educated decisions. Better decisions, in this context, can be characterized as decisions that are based less on assumptions that need to be made in the absence of concrete information, and more on information deduced through advanced data analysis.

Economic Benefits: INACHUS will do much to ameliorate the high costs of disasters, since it can be said almost without fail that an effective crisis response also translates to substantial monetary savings. These savings may be realized in a myriad of ways: direct disaster costs may be reduced through the limitation of disaster impact by its limitation to a specific geographic locale, by the reduction in medical costs through the effective eviction of the population from danger zones, or through the reduction in subsequent insurance claims. Emergencies and crises are an inevitable fact of modern life, with extreme weather events, fires, hazmat spills and traffic accidents happening often and in every jurisdiction. In the end, the potential consequences of emergencies are indisputable: serious injury and/or death to responding personnel and the public, damage to public and private property and the risk of long-term financial repercussions. The effectiveness of USaR activities following emergency events is to a large extent determined by the performance of emergency workers who rush to the scene. Many factors may inhibit the effectiveness of USaR crews, including bad preparation, under-funding, malfunctioning equipment, or situational circumstances (think of extreme weather). The most pertinent factor determining success or failure is the quality of information and communication processes, which should provide USaR crews with an adequate and common picture of the situation. Therefore, through the provision of an end-to-end platform for USaR operations INACHUS will be the necessary development to enhance the operational effectiveness of USaR crews while reducing civilian casualties and loss of life among crew members.

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