Developing innovative tools for improved search and rescue operations

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Mistale Taylor
- Associate Research Manager

Date: 18 December 2019

In the face of natural or man-made disaster, urban search and rescue teams and other first responders like police, medical units or civil protection race against the clock to locate survivors within the critical 72-hour timeframe, often at their own peril due to the presence of unstable structures or hazardous environments.

The EU funded CURSOR project will devise novel technologies using drones, miniaturized robotic equipment and advanced sensors to speed up the detection of survivors trapped in collapsed buildings and to improve working conditions for first responders.

The initiative ultimately seeks to match the operational needs of search and rescue teams with current technological capabilities. The project will deliver the innovative CURSOR Search and Rescue Kit, which features miniaturized robots and different types of drones. The robots are equipped with chemical sensors that detect a wide range of chemical substances indicating human presence and are carried from the operations headquarters to the disaster site by a transport drone.

“First responders have practical experience on the field and developers the technical know-how,” explains Klaus Dieter Büttgen, coordinator of the CURSOR project at the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW). “Through this unique collaboration between technical partners, industry, academics and first responders, expertise will be transformed into a novel technology that contributes to locating buried victims more swiftly and with less risk for the people conducting the research operation.”

CURSOR H2020 Project

Trilateral will be leading research on the ethical, legal, privacy and data protection aspects of the CURSOR project and conducting an Ethical/Privacy Impact Assessment of the developed technologies. By collaborating with all project members as they develop, test and use the CURSOR technology, Trilateral will help identify and mitigate risks whilst supporting technology-driven innovation.

The project was officially launched in September 2019 and will run for three years.

The CURSOR team, which includes 15 European partners and one Japanese partner, involves first-response practitioners from four European countries; research organisations that will provide leading-edge technology; and small and medium companies that will develop key innovative components and commercialize the project results. Other relief practitioners will be involved as members of the project’s First Responder Board, responsible for technology validation and standardisation activities.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 832790.

For more information please contact our team.

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