Do we need ICARUS Unmanned search and rescue project in daily life?
After the earthquakes in Italy in 2009 and Japan, the European Commission noticed the discrepancy between the developed technology in the lab and its usage in real-life search and rescue scenarios.
In 2012, the Security company EP-7, funded and managed by the EU started the project ICARUS – Unmanned Search and Rescue. According to CORDIS the project had an overall budget of $17 Million and last until 2016.
During that time of operation, it conducted valuable research on the use of drones in battling natural disasters. It also contributed by developing various new techniques and technologies in the field of drones, as well as in robotics overall. Due to its high potential and innovative ideas, the ICARUS project received help from different countries and organizations in Europe, such as CINAV (Portugal), CMRE (Italy), and SpaceTec Partners (Belgium). The project also won numerous rewards on different events. The team received the second prize in the euRathlon 2015, which is an outdoor robotics challenge held annually.
ICARUS’s contributions to robotics
During its lifespan of four years, the team completed some innovative ideas in battling natural disasters. They did this mainly through the development of integrated drone components. Their tools consisted of different types of unmanned aerial, ground, and sea vehicles equipped with various victim detection sensors. The ICARUS team was the first arrival on some hard-struck areas. They showed impressive results on the scene.
The way they used drones in these events is by first detecting the victims with thermal sensors at sea or ground. Then, with their navigation systems they transmit the location to the command center. Visible and thermal imagers then process the images. After these steps, teams are sent on the spot to reach the victim.
The various developments achieved in the project include: development of a light sensor capable of detecting humans, heterogeneous communication between unmanned search and rescue devices, self-organizing wireless communication network, integration of Unmanned Search And Rescue tools in the C4I systems of the Human Search And Rescue forces and many more. Their partner Eurecat contributed with the developments of a multirotor system optimized for search and rescue.
What ICARUS’ Search and Rescue sets for the future
ICARUS opened new doors for young aspiring engineers. Being a team that consisted primarily of recent graduates and students it showed great prospects. They managed to introduce the world to a new and more efficient way of dealing with disasters. The team proved the skeptics wrong, revolutionizing the use of UAVs.
In conclusion, ICARUS played an important part in spreading the importance of the UAVs, introducing their benefits to a wide crowd. But, most importantly-it saved lives!