Emergency response drone to save the life of the digital sky

Emergency response drone to save the life of the digital sky

SAFIR-An unmanned spacecraft above the headquarters of the Port of Antwerp-Bruge. Credits: © Helicus-Geert Vanhandenhove, Rik Van Boxem, 2022

Unmanned spacecraft for fire and medical emergencies are used to save lives. If digitized air traffic control helps you move safely over Europe.

In future cities, skyscrapers will catch fire. An alarm will be issued, a swarm of drones will plunge around the building, and antennas will be used to locate people inside and allow firefighters to go straight to the victims. Just at the tick of time-death is not recorded.

Elsewhere in the city, drones send tissue samples from hospitals to specialized laboratories to come and go for analysis, and another drone rushes a defibrillator to a suspected cardiac arrest at a soccer field. send. The patient is alive and the fractions saved have proven to be important.

According to drone company DJI, at the time of writing, drones are already in use in search and rescue situations, saving more than 880 people worldwide. Drones are also used for medical purposes such as transporting medicines and samples, and vaccination to remote areas.

Drones for this purpose are still relatively new developments. In short, there is plenty of room to make drones more effective and improve their support infrastructure. This is especially true in urban environments where navigation is complex and safety regulations are required.

Flying firefighter

The IDEAL DRONE project has developed a system to support firefighting and other emergencies to demonstrate the potential for using swarms of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in these situations. Drones equipped with antennas use radio frequency systems to detect the location of “nodes” (or tags) worn by people in the building.

In a test using an Italian aircraft hangar, a ground pilot flew three drones outside the building. Drones are the idea of ​​triangulating the location of people inside where signals intersect to detect information about their health. Next, the safety of firefighters by mapping details to optimize and accelerate rescue operations and prevent firefighters from searching the entire burning building without knowing where they are. To increase.

Professor Gian Paolo Cimellaro, Polytechnic University of Turin engineer and project leader at IDEAL DRONE, said:

“Knowing how many people are in the building and where they are will optimize search and rescue operations.”

“A unique feature of this project is that it enables indoor tracking without communication networks such as Wi-Fi and GPS, which may not be available in emergencies such as disasters and post-earthquake situations.”

There are some challenges with accuracy and battery life, but another obvious drawback is that people in the building must already be wearing trackers.

However, according to Professor Cimellaro, the current thinking is that if the tags are embedded in existing technologies that people often already have, such as smartwatches, cell phones, and ID cards, this may not get in the way. there is. It can also be used by organizations that require the use of staff working in hazardous environments such as factories and offshore oil rigs.

Beyond the challenge, Professor Cimellaro believes that such a system could become a reality within five years, with an important future promise that drones would avoid “endangering human life.” I am.

Medical network

Another area where drones can be used to save lives is emergency medicine. This is the focus of the SAFIR-Med project.

Belgian medical drone operator Helicus has set up a Command and Control (C2C) center in Antwerp to coordinate the flight of drones. The idea is for C2C to use artificial intelligence to automatically create flight plans and navigate within real-world digital twins (or virtual representations). These plans will then be relayed to the relevant air traffic authorities for flight permits.

“We anticipate that the drone freight port on the roof of the hospital will be as integrated as possible with the hospital’s logistics system and can be transported as needed,” said Geert Vanhandenhove, Flight Operations Manager at Helikas. rice field.

So far, SAFIR-Med has been flying nearby for remote virtual demonstrations, simulations, C2C controlled flights at test sites, and others.

The next step is to test the concept of real demonstrations in several countries, including Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. Scenarios include moving medical devices and tissue samples between hospitals and laboratories, delivering defibrillators to treat patients with heart disease outside the hospital, and transporting doctors to emergency sites by passenger drones. Is expected.

Additional simulations in Greece and the Czech Republic show the potential to extend such systems throughout Europe.

SAFIR-med is part of a broader initiative known as U-space. This is a public-private effort for safe operation of the European Sky, which is jointly funded by a single Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR) consortium.

Make a rule

Much of the technology is already there for such use of drones, says Vanhandenhove. However, he emphasizes that there are regulatory challenges associated with drone flight in the city, especially for large models that fly beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS). This includes approval of the demonstration within SAFIR-Med itself.

“The fact that this is the first time this has happened raises a significant hurdle,” he said. “Which scenario can be performed depends on the permissions granted.”

However, regulations will be released over time, and the Commission’s rules will facilitate the framework for the use of BVLO SUAV in low airspace, which is expected to come into effect in January next year.

Vanhandenhove emphasizes that developing a more robust drone infrastructure is a step-by-step process of learning and improvement. Ultimately, we hope to be able to mobilize emergency flights in seconds in future smart cities through a well-coordinated system with authorities. “It’s very important for us to get approval in less than a minute,” he said.

He believes that commercial flight could even begin within a few years, but widely integrated and robust unmanned spacecraft may not be functional in cities until 2025 or later. “It’s about creating logistics that deliver all healthcare faster and more efficiently, and removing as much of the constraints and limitations on the route as possible,” says Vanhandenhove.

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Provided by Horizon: EU Research & Innovation Magazine

Quote: Digital Sky Lifesaving Emergency Response Drone (June 21, 2022) from https: //techxplore.com/news/2022-06-emergency-response-drones-digital.html June 2022 Obtained on the 21st

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