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  • Periodic Report Summary 3 - INACHUS (Technological and Methodological Solutions for Integrated Wide Area Situation Awareness and Survivor Localisation to Support Search and Rescue Teams)

Periodic Report Summary 3 - 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 detection 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 being consulted to collect their 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.



During the 3rd period the main achievements of the project per WP are as follows:
• WP3: Establishment of the building library and speed enhancement of the simulation methods. Finalization and integration of the mapping and the cavity identification tool in the INACHUS system.
• WP4: Prototype validation of the tools to retrieve 3D data from the collapsed buildings using aerial and ground measurements, photogrammetric images from RGB cameras and 3D point clouds from Laser cameras.
• WP5: The e-nose prototype was completed and now includes CO2, O2, NH3, CO, H2S, combustibles, and temperature and humidity sensors. Also the radar prototype and the thermal camera were completed and integrated in the INACHUS robot. For the robot, various parts were 3D printed and assembled into the final system.
• WP6: The SaR-ESS, the actual brains of the system, was delivered. The COP was almost finalized and will be integrated in the SaR-ESS by M38.
• WP7: The communication platform of the INACHUS system has been designed and integrated. A complete real-time localization system (RTLS) has also been designed and implemented and the housing of the gateways has almost been finalized.
• WP8: The integration interfaces between all the components and subsystems have been defined and the implementation and the compliance validation of the individual components with these interfaces have been tested and validated.
• WP9: The second pilot of INACHUS project and the simulated exercises were successfully performed, whereas already the third pilot has been planned.
• WP10: An updated dissemination plan was prepared. An exploitation workshop has been planned for the next period and extensive dissemination activities have been performed in the second pilot, through press releases and finally though the project’s social media accounts.
• WP11: An ethical evaluation was performed for the second pilot and a similar plan was designed for the coming ones. The “Interoperability framework for functional components of a modular search and rescue robotic platform” was the selected topic for the realization of a CWA which will occur in the fourth period.

Project Results:
WP1: All deliverables and milestones were achieved by M12 (the first working period).

WP2: All deliverables and milestones were achieved by M21 (the second working period).

WP3: In the current working period (third) T3.1, T3.4, T3.5, T3.6 and T3.7 were active, whereas T3.2 and T3.3 were closed in the second working period. The current working period focused mainly on establishing the content of the building library, by performing a vast amount of simulations. This extensive work was documented in D3.3. Thereby, a very important contribution of WP3 to the INACHUS solution was achieved. Further focus was laid on the speed enhancement of the methods and reasonable progress was made by outlining possible simplifications for the AEM method and by improving the DEM approach. Finally, the working period contained the finalization of the mapping and the cavity identification tool, as well as defining the integration of the WP3 tools in the INACHUS system. All tasks can be seen as closed and successfully fulfilled. All Milestones and Deliverables have been delivered on time. However, during the simulated exercise, very valuable feedback from end-users concerning the functionality of the mapping tool was collected and it is intended to use remaining resources to implement some suggestions during the upcoming integration processes and pilots.

WP4: In the current working period T4.3 and T4.5 were active, whereas the rest three tasks were closed in the second period. The third period of the project was dedicated to validate prototypes to retrieve 3D data from buildings or wide areas using static or aerial laser cameras and image analysis by drones. 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 teams. The common architecture (and the related links/exchanged procedures) takes into account the complementarities between all the involved techniques. Common experiments were shared between all the partners during the second pilot of the project in Lyon, France. Aerial and ground measurements, photogrammetric images from RGB cameras and 3D point clouds from Laser cameras were successfully tested during Pilot 2 in May 2017. Tasks (T4.1, T4.2, T4.3 and T4.4) are completed. WP4 partners suggest extending T4.5 up to June 2018 to finalize the developments and to fit with the other WPs (post-processing algorithms of 3D data and displaying a 3D mesh in the COP with additional information).

WP5: In the current working period (third) T5.2, T5.3 T.5.5 and T5.6 were active, whereas the rest two tasks were closed in the second working period. In the current working period the partners completed the 3rd prototype of the e-nose including verification tests. The device now includes CO2, O2, NH3, CO, H2S, combustibles, and temperature and humidity sensors. Also the system supports alerts for victim localization, air related safety aspects, and e-nose system status. During the third period WP3 finalized the robot radar prototype to make it available for integration in the robot, and performed extensive test measurements of the beam steering capabilities of the surface radar. Finally, various 3D printing of robot parts (joint, tracks, head, tail) took place and assembled with the rest of the robot parts.

WP6: In the current working period (third) all tasks were active. Four of them closed within the period, whereas T6.4 and T6.6 will be finalized in M38. WP6 is responsible to deliver the brains of INACHUS, the SaR-ESS. A complex system composed by numerous modules and components developed to control, visualize and facilitate the search-and-rescue operations and protocols. Tasks 6.1 and 6.2 are almost completed and on top of this, Task 6.3 is already completed and produced the first deliverable of the WP, the D6.1. Task 6.5 is completed and MS61 is achieved on-time. Moreover, T6.4 and T6.6 are almost completed resulting the finalization and submission of the D6.2. Last but not least, WP6 aims to the finalization of SaR-ESS including the COP until the end of M38 (February 2018). Last actions to finalize the Work package are on progress, and only minor development, and more specifically bug fixes remaining.

WP7: In the current working period (third) all tasks but one (T7.1) were active. The active ones were completed by the end of the period. In WP7 a robust, resilient, redundant, seamless and interoperable communication platform to ensure that the sensors data can reach the command center was designed. INACHUS also integrated technologies, protocols and algorithms resilient to multipath errors and combined them in order to compensate the weak points and give the best-effort localization of the targets inside the rubble. Complementary, INACHUS designed and implemented a complete real-time localization system (RTLS). Of special concern is the localization of targets under the rubble that could be of an irregular density and composed of heterogeneous materials that greatly increase the signal distortion and multi-path effect. Technologies, protocols and algorithms resilient to multipath errors were combined in a unique system in order to achieve accurate localization in complex environments.

WP8: In the current working period (third) all tasks were active, and three of them (T8.3-T8.5) will be completed in the fourth working period. At the end of this period of the development T8.1 and task T8.2 were finished, the integration interfaces between all the components and subsystems have been defined and the implementation and the compliance validation of the individual components with these interfaces have been tested and validated. The embedded communication system has been developed and deployed for the Robot and its sensors and the RTLS and also an additional specific release for the stand-alone sensors is under development. The definition of the physical interfaces (mechanical, electrical and communication) together with the 3D model design of the Mobile Platform integrating robot, sensors and RTLS has been completed. Progressive validation quality assurance tests of interoperations between the components deployed in the final infrastructure will be continued.

WP9: In the current working period (third) all tasks but one (T9.1) were active, and will be until the end of the project M48. During this working period, the second pilot of INACHUS project and the simulated exercises were successfully performed. The internal report on the second field test and tools evaluation was edited and the validation plan for the third field test was started. The site and the date for the third pilot have been fixed (Weeze, Germany, April 2018). In parallel, the search for the appropriate site for the fourth pilot was started.

WP10: In the current working period (third) all tasks were active, and will be until the end of the project M48. From the second review, comments and advices were addressed in order to boost exploitation activities and target dissemination activities toward interested groups. An updated plan of dissemination has been prepared to address those comments. The second field test, held in Lyon, France in May 2017 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 and newspaper interviews.

WP11: In the current working period (third) all tasks but one (T11.1) were active, and will be until the end of the project M48. During this period WP11 established collaboration with BSI (British Standards Institution) to take care the secretariat effort for the establishment of a CEN/CENELEC CWA. The corresponding workshops and events will take place in the fourth period. Also, Technology Implementation Questionnaire were analysed and 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 hit 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 centres 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 and traffic accidents happening of ten 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 IN ACHUS will be the necessary development to enhance the operational effectiveness of USaR crews while reducing civilian casualties and loss of life among crew members.

List of Websites:
http://www.inachus.eu

Reported by

INSTITUTE OF COMMUNICATION AND COMPUTER SYSTEMS
Greece

Subjects

Safety
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