To successfully respond to emergency situations and disasters, it is crucial that the emergency services are ready for action and well-organised. Their work is extremely demanding and often entails them putting themselves in danger. Advanced technology can play an important role in minimising the risks for emergency services and making their work even more effective and efficient. It is with this in mind that the BMBF funds research projects intended to develop innovative rescue and security systems. The goal is to come up with new security solutions that can be expected to bring significant practical benefits and potential for implementation due to the inclusion of the entire innovation and value chain.
Ongoing joint projects:
AKIT: Autonomy KIT for conventional work vehicles to facilitate networked and assisted removal of hazards
Funding codes 13N14099 to 13N14102
When there is a large fire in a chemicals factory, there is a potential risk of contamination, preventing people from working there without some form of protection. Autonomous or partially autonomous vehicles are of considerable benefit in these cases. However, they are extremely specialised and the costs involved prevent large numbers of them being kept on hand. The BMBF is therefore funding a project called AKIT, which is developing an add-on kit with which conventional construction and work vehicles can be converted into remote-controlled devices and partially autonomous devices in a very short amount of time.
AKIT project outline (only available in German)
DEFLAG: Safe deflagration of unexploded bombs using laser technology
Funding codes 13N14155 and 13N14156
Unexploded bombs are still found today in Germany – 60 years after the end of the Second World War. To date, around 60% of them have been removed. This often means closing off whole districts and evacuating hundreds of people. The DEFLAG project is now developing a new method that minimises the risks involved in controlled detonation of munitions. A laser beam operated from a mobile, automated platform systematically creates grooves in and weakens the steel shell of the unexploded bomb. This means that the explosive can be disarmed by means of controlled deflagration, which is not as dangerous as detonation.
More information (only available in German)
EFAS: Operation support system for fire brigades to respond to danger on board seagoing vessels
Funding codes 13N14055 to 13N14062
When fire breaks out on a vessel in port, the shore-based fire brigades are responsible for fighting it. Since they are not specially trained for fires on board vessels, this task can be a particular challenge for them. The EFAS research project is looking at how firefighters can be located inside the vessel and how their vital signs can be monitored. The intention is also that ambient data, such as temperatures and hazardous substance levels, will be reported to the incident command centre. Swift provision of situation reports, coupled with stable communication between everyone involved, will help the emergency services to work efficiently even in unfamiliar environments.
EFAS project outline (only available in German)
EINS3D: Aerial reconnaissance of incident sites in 3D
Funding codes 13N14182 to 13N14185
It is not always easy for incident commanders to determine the details of the situation quickly when a major incident, such as a large fire, multiple collision or major flood, occurs. With this in mind, the EINS3D project is conducting research on special cameras and sensors for unmanned aerial vehicles. The images captured by the cameras are sent to the fire brigade’s incident command centre and the data is used to produce a 3D map of the area in real time.
EINS3D project outline (only available in German)
FOUNT2: Aerial localisation system for rescuing buried persons
Funding codes 13N14161 to 13N14167
Incidents in which people become trapped beneath debris mean a race against time for the emergency services. Often, the sheer mass of debris makes it difficult to locate the victims and also poses a risk to the emergency services. The partners on the FOUNT2 project are therefore conducting research on a high-performance, unmanned aerial robot. The new camera system enables high-resolution, 3D maps of the debris to be produced from the air. There is also to be an integrated bio radar system for locating trapped persons and casualties.
More information (only available in German)
GAS-O-CHROM: Gasochromic sensors – Optical gas sensors for use in fire detectors for early detection of fire gases
Funding codes 13N14073 to 13N14077
Every year, more than 400 people die in Germany as a result of fires. Most of Germany’s federal states have introduced legislation making it compulsory to install smoke detectors in buildings in order to protect people from flames and fumes. However, conventional devices do not trigger the alarm until there is a significant build-up of smoke in the room, when the fire is already at an advanced stage. The GAS-O-CHROM project is therefore working on a warning system that detects gases that occur in the initial stage of a fire so that it can trigger the alarm at an early stage.
GAS-O-CHROM project outline (only available in German)
LARUS: Sea rescue operation support by unmanned aerial systems
Funding codes 13N14132 to 13N14137
In sea rescue operations, every minute counts. However, they can be conducted quickly, particularly if there is precise information concerning the incident location and the situation facing the rescue services. The problem is that conventional distress messages often do not include all the details required for an efficient sea rescue operation. Rapid aerial location would therefore be a major step forward. This is the idea behind the LARUS project, which is conducting research on an unmanned aerial system that can support search and rescue operations without having to be steered by a pilot.
LARUS project outline (only available in German)
LaserRettung: Innovative laser system for rescue operations in complex accident scenarios
Funding codes 13N14140 to 13N14146
Although traffic volumes are increasing, the number of fatalities on Germany’s roads has decreased by two thirds over the past 25 years. New safety technology and state-of-the-art materials, such as high-strength steel and innovative composites, are providing better protection for vehicle drivers and their passengers. However, these materials also make it more difficult for emergency service personnel to free accident victims from their cars. The BMBF-funded LaserRettung project is conducting research on a compact laser system that will enable emergency services to cut through modern vehicle materials more quickly.
LaserRettung project outline (only available in German)
MOFSchutz: Metal organic frameworks as highly selective hazardous-substance adsorbents for respiratory masks and protective clothing
Funding codes 13N14194 to 13N14199
Hazardous substances that escape during major accidents or terrorist attacks pose a high risk for emergency services. They can then choose between protective suits that are isolated from the outside air or suits that have a filter-based air exchange function. However, since it is virtually impossible for commonly available filter materials to stop toxic industrial chemicals entering, the suits providing complete isolation from the outside world are often chosen. Since they do not permit an exchange of air, the strain on the emergency service personnel wearing them is high. The BMBF-funded MOFSchutz project is researching new filter materials that allow air and moisture through whilst filtering out any toxic chemicals.
MOFSchutz project outline (only available in German)
MoSAIk: Mobile sensor network for autonomous and large-area underwater localisation and identification of hazards in ports and inland waters
Funding codes 13N14152 to 13N14154
Illegally dumped oil and chemicals are found in the Baltic Sea every year. In the future, unmanned underwater vehicles will make a large-scale early warning system possible. The MoSAIk project is working on a fleet of small, autonomous underwater robots to facilitate early detection of discharged heavy oils and toxic substances. Using new miniature sensors and innovative underwater communication, the idea is that these unmanned systems will measure pollutants effectively in large areas, working in a swarm.
MoSAIk project outline (only available in German)
SEERAD: Sea rescue system based on a low-interference radar
Funding codes 13N14117 to 13N14119
People can find themselves in distress at sea due to extreme weather or accidents on board. If someone falls overboard, the crew immediately attempts to mark their position using buoyancy aids. But in rough seas it is difficult to locate the person. The marine radar system is of little help because it does not see people in the water properly if the waves are high or there is heavy rain. A new sea rescue system is therefore the subject of the SEERAD research project. It involves transponders being integrated into buoyancy aids, such as life jackets or rings, and then sending a special radar signal back, which the radar aerial can receive and evaluate in addition to the other information. This signal is not affected by interference caused by reflections on waves, making it possible to see small objects too.
SEERAD project outline (only available in German)
TEBRAS: Technology for detecting and fighting fire and self-rescue in the earliest stage of a fire
Funding codes 13N14206 to 13N14211
Nowadays, fires tend to spread much more quickly due to the increasing amount of plastics and electrical devices in our households. Conventional fire detectors do not give a warning until the room is full of smoke. The TEBRAS project is systematically examining the incipient stage of fires, the aim being to develop fire detectors that not only provide earlier warnings but also cause fewer false alarms. Another aspect being tested is whether it would be possible to hand out extinguisher sprays to the public, so as to increase self-help capacity, and, if so, which ones.
TEBRAS project outline (only available in German)