EU, South Korea Award Consortium Funds for Drone Situational Awareness Project
Friday, May 17, 2019 | Comments

The European Union (EU) and the South Korean government awarded US$9.2 million (€8.3 million) to the ReponDrone consortium, which is composed of 20 partners from 12 countries, to develop and apply a situational awareness system in emergency situations, providing critical information and communication services to first responders.

The three-year project aims to develop an integrated solution for first responders to easily enhance their situation assessment capacity and their own protection. This will, together with other means, include the integration of a fleet of drones that can be operated by a single pilot, during multiple synchronized missions to enhance their situation assessment capacity and protection.

The project received US$9.8 million (€8 million) from the EU through the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme and an additional US$335,000 (€300,000) from the South Korean government.

The ResponDrone system will simplify and accelerate situation assessment, information sharing, decision-making and operations management. Moreover, it will deliver high-quality information to any involved control center through an intelligent, accessible web-based system, which can be operated from a remote site. In addition, it will serve as an on-demand airborne communications network to allow people on the ground to communicate with the command center in case of cellular coverage collapse.

“By using the innovative ResponDrone system, emergency response teams will be able to respond more rapidly, effectively and efficiently to an emergency or disaster and therefore, save more lives,” said ResponDrone Project Manager Max Friedrich from the German Aerospace Center (DLR). “The fleet of drones will provide enhanced capabilities to support mission assessment and search and rescue operations, as well as forest fire fighting.”

More than 200 people were killed by natural disasters in Europe alone during 2017. Beyond the loss of life, natural disasters also have a severe economic impact. Since 1980, EU member states have lost more than US$402 billion (€360 billion) due to extreme weather and climate events.

Deployment of the ResponDrone system is very simple. Each fleet of drones will be operated by a single pilot, instead of each drone being operated by a single pilot. To ensure seamless uptake and adoption by first responder organizations, ResponDrone will be fully integrated and embedded within the current processes and procedures of real emergency response agencies and teams.

ResponDrone will increase the effectiveness and efficiency of civil protection operations as it will consider the first responder’s total mission time, cost and success level.

The ResponDrone project will hold its opening conference 20-22 May in Madrid, Spain.

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