In this week’s roundup from the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, which highlights some of the latest news and headlines in unmanned vehicles and robotics, unmanned aerial systems in Sweden deliver defibrillators to scenes of cardiac arrest, autonomous truck platform research in Ohio, USA, and drone surveys for future highway construction in Colorado, USA.
Everdrone using UAS to deliver defibrillators to the scene of cardiac arrests
In Sweden, autonomous drone technology company Everdrone has announced that it is now using UAS to deliver Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to the scene of cardiac arrests, which will allow bystanders to initiate life-saving measures while they wait for professional medical care.
Everdrone notes that each year, out-of-hospital cardiac arrests affect approximately 275,000 individuals in Europe. The survival rate in these instances is about 10 percent, but that number could increase to as much as 70 percent when CPR and early defibrillation is initiated within the first few minutes, according to research.
The service is part of a clinical study in collaboration with Sweden’s national emergency call center, SOS Alarm, and the Centre for Resuscitation Science at Karolinska Institutet (KI), and is now available to more than 80,000 residents in the Gothenburg area of Sweden.
“By combining our state-of-the-art drone platform and know-how in the regulatory space, we are finally able to launch this life-saving application,” says Mats Sällström, CEO of Everdrone.
“The collaboration with SOS Alarm and KI has been absolutely crucial for the realization of the concept in terms of being able to perform a swift alarm response, and to manage the medical and ethical issues involved.”
Expected to launch in June, the initial study will run through the end of Sept. 2020. Three UAS will be placed in designated locations, ready to respond to emergency 112-calls immediately for emergencies occurring within a radius of six kilometers.
“In the event of a cardiac arrest, the drone is dispatched at the same time as the ambulance and will certainly be the first to arrive on the scene,” explains Mattias Regnell, head of Innovation and Research at SOS Alarm. “Our operators are ready to instruct bystanders on how to initiate the life-saving device.”
When the drone arrives at the designated location, the AED will lower to the ground while the drone remains hovering at 30 meters altitude. Everdrone says that this procedure eliminates several risks associated with landing a drone close to people.
“The method of lowering the defibrillator from the drone with the help of a winch is something we have been developing and testing for a long time,” Sällström says.
“We have performed countless test deliveries in recent months, and the results show that the method works very well.”
According to Everdrone, it is one of just a few companies in the world that has been granted permission to conduct urban drone operations, thanks in large part to its safety portfolio and a long-standing dialogue with authorities.
“Safety is at the core of everything we do at Everdrone. Even though the drones we use are extremely safe in themselves, we still need to foresee every conceivable fault scenario and put solutions in place to handle them,” Sällström says.
Everdrone’s flight system is equipped with obstacle avoidance functionality built on Intel RealSense technology, intelligent route planning that greatly reduces flight time over people, and a certified onboard parachute system, which lowers the risk to people on the ground in the case of a bird strike or critical propulsion failure.
The outcome of the emergency operations will continuously be evaluated within a research study conducted by KI. KI will present the results of the study later this year, with hopes of expanding operations to other parts of Sweden and Europe by next year.
“We see enormous potential for this type of fully-integrated drone system. This study is unique, the first of its kind in the world, and we look forward to objectively evaluating the project together with Everdrone and SOS Alarm,” says Andreas Claesson, associate professor at KI.
Locomation to test its autonomous truck platforms at Ohio's Transportation Research Center
Locomation, the provider of what it calls the world’s first trucking technology platform to offer human-guided autonomous convoying, has announced a research project with the Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC) in East Liberty, Ohio.
Alongside TRC’s extensive research and development team, Locomation will actively test at the research center to advance its autonomous truck platforms, in an effort to facilitate more innovation on the testing and validation of the company's autonomy technology.
“Locomation is proud of our leadership in the growing field of autonomous trucking and we’re confident that our partnership with TRC will get us to an even higher level,” says Locomation CEO Dr. Çetin Meriçli.
“Our emphasis remains on developing, improving and perfecting our autonomous systems and TRC is a top destination to rigorously test and validate our technology. It’s a world-renowned destination and we’re excited to greatly increase our presence there.”
Locomation will conduct its research at TRC’s new 540-acre SMARTCenter for testing advanced automotive and mobility technologies. Home to high-speed straightaways and cityscape simulations, the SMARTCenter also has various intersection types, roundabouts, access ramps and other navigational situations that a vehicle would encounter in everyday driving.
The SMARTCenter creates an ideal environment for autonomous vehicle and smart highway research, allowing for autonomous vehicles to be tested in a safe, secure and repeatable real-world environment before they hit public roads and highways.
The Locomation team and TRC’s engineering staff will also collaborate to improve Locomation’s autonomous trucking platform through “rigorous analyses and observations derived from TRC’s 45 years of experience with automotive testing,” the companies say.
“We are excited Locomation will use our state-of-the-art test facilities alongside our industry-leading team of engineers and technicians for extensive validation and verification of advanced vehicle technologies for automated driving,” says Brett Roubinek, president and CEO of TRC.
Locomation is scheduled to continue testing at TRC throughout 2020. The company will begin immediate work with TRC’s engineering and technical teams.
Woolpert hired to conduct UAS surveys in Colorado
Woolpert has announced that it has been hired to complete right-of-way (ROW) and TMOSS design surveys in Castle Rock, Colorado using UAS.
The design and ROW plan surveys are being conducted in accordance with Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) standards. TMOSS, which stands for InRoads Terrain Modeling Survey System, represents the best practices followed by CDOT surveyors and contract consultant surveyors.
Woolpert was contracted by Felsburg Holt & Ullevig (FHU), who will use the imagery and mapping collected by the UAS to assess and design a frontage road adjacent to Interstate 25, which runs through Castle Rock and Douglas County. The project team will evaluate and define ROW acquisition needs for the new road based off the design and ROW plans produced from the imagery and field surveys.
“This is a unique opportunity to introduce new technology to the town with a proven survey team,” says Woolpert Project Manager Chris Raml.
“Using UAS will save the client time and money, and offer a superior, visual deliverable. We know what’s required by the town of Castle Rock and CDOT, and our drones are collecting exactly what’s needed safely and efficiently.”
For this project, Woolpert will use senseFly's eBee X drone. Capable of extended flight times, the UAS is equipped with real-time kinematic (RTK) technology. This technology, when combined with Woolpert survey group’s ground control point data, produces a highly accurate topographic base map and orthorectified imagery.
Woolpert has worked with CDOT for more than 20 years and with the town of Castle Rock for almost 10 years, providing transportation design surveys and ROW acquisition support services. According to FHU Senior Engineer Rick Erjavec, FHU hired Woolpert based on Woolpert's favorable reputation with Castle Rock for previous work completed, as well as for the firm's ability to tie into the same control used for an upcoming Crystal Valley interchange project.
Woolpert says that the project is now underway.
Compiled by Brian Sprowl, Associate Editor, AUVSI