emergenCITY cross-sectional mission researches a Smart Digital Situation Control Center

Our cities are becoming more digital and with increasing smart infrastructure, so-called digital twins can provide a comprehensive overview of the condition of a city. Sensors distributed throughout the city record the environment - and this can be useful, especially in crisis situations. A wide range of information in a city - collected in compliance with privacy laws, processed efficiently and displayed in a user-friendly manner - can support emergency services in planning their measures. Rescue and assistance can thus be better coordinated and carried out in case of an emergency.

That’s why the emergenCITY cross-cutting mission SCC is working on a Smart Digital Situation Control Center. “The goal of the mission is to be able to support human rescue workers and decision-makers as best as possible during an operation,” explains mission team member Marius Schnaubelt. Stationary sensors and mobile agents play a key role here. Unmanned ground vehicles, whose equipment allows them to work cooperatively and remain maneuverable even in dangerous and impassable environments, and unmanned aerial vehicles are equipped with such mobile sensors. A network of smart streetlights provides additional data.

“In a crisis, the task is to record the situation by the stationary and mobile agents and to visualize and control it as well as possible,” explains Schnaubelt. This involves dealing with data protection issues, identifying relevant information and information points, and designing a resilient communication infrastructure. To do this, the Mission SCC is collaborating with the emergenCITY mission Knowledge Base, which is researching a platform for providing data. “Currently, we are working on integrating the knowledge base for the mobile agents as well as VR control of the robots,” Schnaubelt said.

In the long term, the available resources should provide optimal data for decision-making in a wide variety of crisis situations. To achieve this, however, the mission is proceeding step by step. The next milestone that mission team members from all four emergenCITY program areas are currently working toward is this year’s emergenCITY Week. “The goal is to demonstrate at emergenCITY Week an initial visualization of selected robot data in the control center using the knowledge base as a communication platform,” Schnaubelt said. More information on the mission is available on their website.