ResponDrone’s final demonstration in Spain showcases how the drone-based platform can increase situation awareness for first responders

March 15, 2022

Last week the ResponDrone partners held their final demonstration and trial at the Atlas Flight test centre in the province of Jaen, southern Spain.

The test centre is an advanced facility that specializes in flight testing, and among other features, is equipped with take-off and landing strips, hangars and a high-speed internet connection.

Located in a sparsely populated area and surrounded by a diverse landscape of olive groves, hills and rivers, this is the same location chosen by the project for the integration tests and dry run in October 2021, and it proved to be the perfect environment for both simulating emergencies and ensuring safe flights.

Due to ongoing COVID pandemic issues, the project’s final demonstration was held in a reduced-risk format, limiting the number of people traveling and meeting at the centre to the absolute minimum.

Consequently, it was attended by the technological partners (IAI, DLR, Inesc Tec, Thales and Alpha) who together built the ResponDrone platform, and one of the project’s end-users: Veiligheids Regio Haaglanden (VRH), the firefighting & rescue services from the Hague Province in The Netherlands.

The four VRH firefighters attending the final demo performed admirably in all types of different circumstances. In the demonstrations, they conducted simulated fire and search & rescue scenarios, and they also took part in a trial designed to compare an existing, average firefighter set-up with the ResponDrone platform in two identical search & rescue scenarios.

The platform performed extremely well, displaying just how having a clear overview of the situation through a centralized command interface and mobile applications helps build situation awareness. Additionally, the demonstration displayed how multiple drones are able to fly safely at the same time using the platform, carrying different types of payloads.

The concluding demonstration also successfully showcased:

  • How a drone can provide continuous internet access to firefighters on the move.

  • Dropping parachuted payloads near victims to provide them with immediate assistance during an emergency scenario.

  • How drone-mounted cameras provide a clear overview of the situation.

This concluding demonstration was a fitting finale to the project. It provided a perfect opportunity to underscore the importance of an integrated drone-based solution for first responders dealing with multiple missions. It was done with a view to enhancing situation assessment, both for mission completion and crew safety. This is in accordance with the project mission of enabling emergency response teams to respond more rapidly, effectively and efficiently to an emergency or disaster and therefore save more lives.