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Search and Rescue Operations: what are the challenges

Police, medical units and civil protection agencies conduct search and rescue operations within a critical 72-hour timeframe from the occurrence of a natural or manmade disaster, to locate and rescue survivors often in immediate need of medical treatment or evacuation.

Instable structures and hazardous environments render search and rescue operations extremely dangerous for both survivors and first responders. For example, physical, chemical, and biological hazards, poor visibility, logistic challenges, poor or damaged infrastructure, and limited knowledge of available resources make it difficult to detect survivors or recognize potential risks to first responders

Improving search and rescue

How can we improve the efficiency and efficacy of search and rescue operations?

The CURSOR project will develop a Search and Rescue (SaR) Kit comprised of drones and miniaturised robotic equipment that can be used to locate and detect victims in hazardous environments. The SaR features:

  • Drones: Drones transport equipment and produce high-definition imaging for accurate visualisation of disaster zones
  • Miniaturised Robotic Equipment: Robots work independently in clusters searching for survivors
  • Advanced Sensors: Advanced sensors detect a range of chemical substances indicating human presence

These tools will reduce the time needed to find trapped victims, improve working conditions for first responders, and provide a common, aggregated operational picture to support the prioritisation of actions in complex search and rescue missions.

Ethical, legal and privacy impact assessment to ensure sustainable innovation

Trilateral assesses the ethical, legal, privacy and data protection issues that need to be considered in the development of novel search and rescue technology. Trilateral considers risks that the project technology poses for privacy and ethics and what measures can be taken to mitigate these risks and promote sustainable technological development.


For more information and updated please visit the project website and follow us on twitter.

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

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