INESC TEC in project to control natural disasters with drone fleets

INESC TEC is the only Portuguese institution to participate in the international project ResponDrone, which aims at developing an emergency management solution based on a fleet of drones. It is expected that the response to natural disasters will be faster, more effective and efficient. To make this project possible, the European Union (EU) and South Korea awarded it EUR 8.3 million – EUR 8 million coming from the EU and EUR 300 000 from the South Korean government.

INESC TEC is the institution responsible for the development of a wireless communications solution that is supported by drones, which will ensure communications between the emergency teams on the ground and the command centre, in case of failure in mobile coverage or need to reinforce the capacity at the site of the disaster.

“When the integrated solution that we are developing is ready, it will allow the emergency teams to easily enhance their situation assessment ability and their own protection. This solution will include the integration of a fleet of drones that can be operated by a single pilot, instead of having a pilot operating a single drone”, explains Rui Campos, Coordinator of the Wireless Networks area of INESC TEC’s Centre for Telecommunications and Multimedia (CTM).

Besides simplifying and accelerating the assessment of the disaster situation, information sharing, decision-making and operations management, the solution will deliver high quality information to any involved control centre through an intelligent and accessible web-based system that can be remotely operated. The solution will also include an airborne communications network in order to allow the emergency teams on the ground to communicate with the command centre in case of failure or need for mobile coverage at the site of the disaster.

When this project is completed, the implementation of the ResponDrone system will be quite simple. “In order to ensure the continued adoption of this solution by the first responder organisations, ResponDrone will be fully integrated and embedded within the current processes and procedures of the emergency teams”, explains the researcher of CTM.

INESC TEC’s researchers that are part of the team that participates in the ResponDrone are André Coelho, Eduardo Almeida, Hélder Fontes, José Ruela, Manuel Ricardo, Pedro Brito and Rui Campos.

The kick-off meeting of the ResponDrone took place in Madrid at the end of May. The 20 international institutions from 12 countries, which are part the consortium, participated in this meeting. The following institutions are part of ResponDrone: German Aerospace Center (Germany), Israel Aerospace Industries (Israel), Alpha Unmanned Systems (Spain), Thales Group (France), Korea Aviation Technologies (South Korea), Haut Comité Français pour la Défense Civile (France), National Emergency Management Authority (Israel), Fire Fighter Department of Corsica (France), Safety Region Haaglanden (the Netherlands), State Fire and Rescue Service of Latvia (Latvia), Ministry of Emergency Situations (Armenia), Region of Western Macedonia (Greece), Region of Central Macedonia (Greece), Regional Administration of Varna (Bulgaria), INESC TEC (Portugal), Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique (France), INHA University (South Korea), American University of Armenia (Armenia), Time.lex (Belgium), Agora Partners (Israel).

This project is funded by the European Union’s H2020 Research and Innovation Programme and the Korean Government under Grant Agreement No. 833717.

More information on this project may be found here:


The researchers mentioned in this news piece are associated with INESC TEC and UP-FEUP.

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