How Airborne drones can make S&R technologies more effective and less risky for the rescuers?

Join the 21st IFAC World Congress and discover how drones equipped with the ARVA System enable an alternative and innovative search strategy.

Rescue missions in avalanche are characterized by specific peculiarities that make common S&R technologies and practices not efficient.
First of all, one of the most important aspects is the rescue time: the survival rate of people buried under the snow decreases rapidly with burial time due to hypothermia.
Secondly, the harshness of the rescue scene is represented by irregular and unstable snow blocks usually on steep slopes.
In this scenario, only a limited range of sensors can be used to localize a person buried under the snow.
Among them there is the ARVA system. The system ARVA consists of two elements: a transmitter and a receiver. The transmitter is worn by the avalanche victims and emits a signal detectable by the receiver, which is held by the rescuers. In case of signal detection, the receiver provides information about the electromagnetic field generated by the transmitter sensed at the receiver location. In case of signal detection, the receiver provides information about the electromagnetic field generated by the transmitter sensed at the receiver location. The rescuers are trained to interpret these data to move towards the victim. Unfortunately, this technique requires a non-negligible amount of time, period during which the rescuers walk on the unstable avalanche snow, with the tangible risk of inducing a second avalanche event.
In this context, drones represent a valid support for humans. Indeed, if sufficiently smart, ARVA-driven drones can fly autonomously above the snow to find the transmitter location, thus resulting in faster and safer search.
The search technique adopted by the rescuers consists in approaching the transmitter by walking on the path defined by the ARVA ElectroMagnetic (EM) flux lines, sensed at the receiver location. Although being very intuitive, this technique has some drawbacks like the length of the search path can be unpredictably long as it depends on the initial position of the receiver with respect to the transmitter, and only the flux line direction is provided by the sensor. To enable fast and reliable UAV-based S&R, the Airborne researchers designed an alternative search strategy based on the signal strength instead of the EM flux lines.
To deepen this topic, join the 21st IFAC World Congress. The event by the International Federation of Automatic Control will be virtually held from the 11th until the 17th of July 2020.
For more information and registration:  https://www.ifac2020.org/