Lab test of drones, 22- 23 April, 2021, Felixdorf, Austria

Within the framework of the CURSOR project, several tests on five defined piles of different construction material were carried out with the CURSOR DRONE FLEET (DF) at the Proving Ground Felixdorf of the Austrian Armed Forces from 22 to 23 April 2021.

The following drones were tested:

  • Transport Drone, transporting SMURFs to and unloading SMURFs at locations with a high probability of living victims being buried underneath rubble. The drone can carry several of these ground robots at a time, and releases them at predetermined openings in the rubble pile;
  • Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) Drone, assisting Search & Rescue (S & R) teams in identifying living survivors buried under rubble. This drone analyzes radar signals, originating from a GPR on board of a drone. It also has a megaphone onboard to enable communication with a victim;
  • Modelling Swarm Drones, taking hundreds of geo-referenced photos during their pre-programmed flight. Special software « stiches » these photos together to create either an orthomap or a 3D model of the area of interest for the crisis management.

 The drones and their sensors were subjected to detailed tests of their multiple capabilities under controlled conditions and met most of the pre-defined objectives. Further research is needed on radar signal analysis and inherent system limitations, as well as improving end-user friendliness of hard- and software.

The results showed that the DF can indeed assist First Responders (FR) in their difficult and dangerous S & R tasks of finding buried victims by lessening the health risks to FRs (e.g. eliminating having to climb up treacherous rubble piles), shortening the time for finding victims, and occurring lower operational costs than with the deployment of helicopters. Test results obtained, together with their evaluation performed by FRs, will serve as feedback for further optimization of the DF in the future. Learn more about this test with watching our video.