George Mason University
In June 2022, George Mason University (GMU) was awarded nearly $1.2M for the Public Safety Innovation Accelerator Program 2022 (PSIAP-2022) funding opportunity.
A precise indoor geo-location (or positioning) system is a crucial requirement in emergency response scenarios, such as the case of firefighting. Being aware of team members’ locations is essential for effective rescue mission management. Another key requirement is to reliably and quickly disseminate the firefighters’ position information to the key incident-commanders, for example, to warn a first responder who is in danger or to direct a first responder to rescue a person who is incapacitated. Finally, it is beneficial to create an accurate mapping and visualization of the building layout. In this project, GMU proposes to design, prototype, and demonstrate a highly precise 5G-based Indoor Positioning System (5G-IPS) using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that addresses the above three long-standing and difficult challenges by utilizing emerging 5G network features: 5G NR positioning, network slicing, open radio access network (O-RAN) architecture, mobile edge computing (MEC), and rapidly deployable UAVs.
George Mason University’s team is made of the following key personnel:
Together with Virginia Tech, and Arlington County Fire Department (ACFD), George Mason University (GMU) proposes to design, prototype and demonstrate a highly precise 5G-based Indoor Positioning System (5G-IPS) that addresses three long-standing and difficult challenges in emergency environments (i) global navigation satellite system (GNSS) and traditional global positioning system (GPS) do not work reliably in indoor setting, (ii) reliable communication infrastructure may not always be available, and (ii) accurate mapping and visualization of the building map may not be available.
UAVs mounted with 5G base stations or user equipment [UEs]) will be utilized for enabling cellular-based (viz. 5G NR) positioning along with specific enhancements to precisely localize firefighters within a building. Shah and his collaborators will then utilize a key 5G capability, called network slicing, to securely, reliably, and timely disseminate the time-critical position information (and other important audio/video or sensor information) from firefighters to the safety stakeholders that need to know it. Following this, a mapping and visualization tool will be prototyped to accurately track the position of firefighters within the visual 3D map of the building. The 5G-IPS system will be demonstrated in-lab using NextG Wireless Lab@Mason’s 5G O-RAN testbed and two other 5G wireless testbeds at Virginia Tech, followed by in-field building test setting in collaboration with Arlington County Fire Department.
The proposed 5G-IPS system will enable a new capability that allows much greater situation awareness of first responders that are in harm's way by knowing their precise location, collaborating in indoor map building, and communicating seamlessly among key first responders.
The proposed 5G-IPS system will enable a new capability that allows much greater situational awareness of first responders that are in harm's way by knowing their precise location, collaborating in indoor map building, and communicating seamlessly among key first responders.
Using the 5G-IPS system, rescuers/first responders can be better coordinated, commanded, and guided, thus, reducing the possibility of disorientation or failures in localizing victims, and saving both victims and rescuers’ lives.