SWIFTERS leverages UAV swarms to study, design, develop, and test, UAV cooperation strategies to assist civil protection operations, such as emergency evacuation. This action has come together after seeing the great potentials of UAVs in emergency management during the DG ECHO PREDICATE project. In particular, PREDICATE demonstrated the use of standalone UAVs for watch-keeping and patrolling regions of interest in order to enhance the disaster prevention capabilities of civil protection and other relevant authorities. Building upon these previous action results, SWIFTERS is a continuation of the work conducted by the KIOS Research Center at the University of Cyprus (UCY-KIOS), the Center for Security Studies of the Ministry of Interior in the Hellenic Republic (KEMEA), and the Cyprus Civil Defence (CCD), i.e., all members of the PREDICATE project consortium. The Direzione General della Protezione Civile Regione Sardegna Italy (RAS) is an additional Civil Protection authority that participates in the proposed action and has expressed great interest in enhancing the capabilities of their personnel with the envisioned UAV solutions.
The main output of the proposed action will be a software package, which will be released under open-source license, featuring emergency operation planning capabilities enabled by UAV swarms such as task allocation to individual UAVs of the swarm (e.g., monitoring emergency event progress, identifying stranded survivors, marking the evacuation path, etc.), and path planning for each UAV. In addition, detailed training material and procedures will be developed through SWIFTERS to enable the consortium partners (3 Civil Protection organizations and 2 Research Institutes) and other interested parties to master the skills on UAV operations and familiarize in using the automated features proposed within SWIFTERS through small, medium and large scale exercises.
1. Needs assessment and Requirements Identification
The needs assessment activity will first identify those roles and operations that UAV platforms can undertake for monitoring hazards, locations of interest, and to inform/alarm of evacuation instructions. To measure the impact of the proposed enhancements, a list of key quality indicators that UAV swarms aim to improve, are also going to be derived. Thereafter, a review of the current state-of-the-art UAV technologies will be conducted to identify those operations that can be considered in the cooperation strategies. Finally, this task will review and identify the application environment that is best suited for the implementation of the proposed software package.
2. Cooperate operations design and development
This taks addresses the design and development of efficient and robust swarm algorithms which will be employed to efficiently automate cooperative UAV operations. The algorithms will be designed based on input from the needs assessment and requirements identification task after reviewing the state-of-the art multi-agent and swarm intelligence algorithms.
3. Implementation of cooperative operations software package
The swarm formation strategies designed and developed will be available in a cooperative operations software package to support civil protection responders. The cooperative planning software package will be user-friendly and designed for the civil protection personnel and the volunteers.
4. Prototyping and testing
The implemented cooperative operations software package will be tested in specific realistic scenarios in lab and operational settings and then demonstrated to the end-user partners. Thereafter, the software package will be handed over to end-user partners to use on their own and enable them to provide feedback in order to enhance and improve various aspects of the software package at algorithmic level, as well as ease of use by the operators.