University of California, Irvine
In June 2022, University of California, Irvine was awarded nearly $1.4M for the Public Safety Innovation Accelerator Program 2022 (PSIAP-2022) funding opportunity.
Their project investigates a technological framework for location-based services. The aim is to develop a prototype of wearable technology to localize emergency responders, assets and equipment, and people indoors and in covered outdoor environments, where the environment is not known and where GPS signals are not available. In addition to localization technology, the project develops a location-based service providing path planning and guidance for emergency responders to make immediate local decisions which would guarantee arrival to a desirable destination (e.g., exit from a building) in a completely unknown and unstructured environment. The localization, path planning, and guidance capabilities will form a unique navigation environment for first responders.
UC Irvine’s team is made of the following key personnel:
Emergency responders need to understand the physical environment in which they are working. That includes knowing the location of personnel and equipment; presence of hazards and resources in the area; and availability of entry and exit routes. This problem is highly challenging because oftentimes inside a building, or in a basement underground, GPS is not available, or there are no pre-installed transmitters and receivers to help with localization. Furthermore, the environment can be unknown, fast changing, and often low visibility. This creates difficulties for localization, dissemination of critical information, and operation.
To solve this problem, the ability to localize people and objects is critical for emergency responders. The proposed NEVERLOST technology aims to develop a self-contained positioning system and extend the capability of GPS for operation in GPS-challenged environments, even when the environment is not pre-engineered for navigation and a map does not exist.
The NEVERLOST will benefit public safety in the following two ways. First, the system can be used as a prototype for future commercial devices that tracks, for example, firefighters’ or responders’ global longitude, latitude, and floor in a building in environments where GNSS signals are not available. Second, the proposed system will become a flexible research testbed for more advanced sensors, algorithms, and services to be considered in the future Location-Based Services (LBS).