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An experimental autopilot system was created for the DRIVER project, allowing a UAS to search a flooded area. (Credit: DLR)

An experimental autopilot system was created for the DRIVER project, allowing a UAS to search a flooded area. (Credit: DLR)

The European Union has been conducting simulated flood-disaster situations monitored by Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) technology. The Driving Innovations in Crisis Management for European Resilience (DRIVER) project features a D-CODE research aircraft, a Do-228, circling over the simulated disaster, taking situational images in real time, which rescue workers can use to coordinate the disaster response.

Several disaster-management technologies and systems are being brought together and tested as a complete system in a realistic scenario. Flight tests aim to capture the magnitude of a flood disaster using aerial images, analyze the transport situation and identify rescue routes. People in distress can be automatically detected in the images using specialized software, and then rescued.DRIVER4_xl

“As soon as we receive the data in the crisis center and identify people in distress, potential rescue routes are calculated, and this information is forwarded to the volunteer helpers,” noted DLR project leader Dagi Geister from the Institute of Flight Guidance. “As a result, following detection, they can get to work almost immediately and rescue our ‘flood victims’ from the water.”

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