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CNI joins firefighting exercise in rescue robotics project

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Impressions of rescue robotics trials. Left: Two fire rescuer with a ground robot. Right: Displays in a mission control center © CNI

As part of the establishment of German Rescue Robotics Center (DRZ), CNI is working on reliable communications solutions for use in disaster scenarios. An exercise for firefighters near the German-Dutch border (Viersen district) in early September acted as a backdrop for field-testing interoperability and performance of systems developed in the research project.

During the exercise, whose topic was the fighting of different kinds of wildfire, the project partners deployed various robotics systems in order to test sensors, range and communication links.

CNI provided a Wi-Fi 6 based research network with a high speed cellular backhaul, connecting robots, ground stations and external systems. Rescue command vehicles from both DRZ and the local fire department were integrated into the network as well, using CNI’s mobile communications lab as the central hub, and allowing coordinators to monitor camera streams recorded by the robot systems in real time.

CNI also deployed its own demonstrator platform, an autonomous ground vehicle (AGV) equipped with an 8K 360° surround camera and the SKATES-system, a multi-network communication solution developed in the research project. The SKATES system transparently aggregates multiple communication links, intelligently scheduling traffic and performing handovers to maximize robustness. Utilizing the Wi-Fi 6 network and a public carrier’s cellular network, the AGV captured a high definition panorama video stream, which could then be interactively viewed by operators using wireless VR headsets.

In the following weeks, the demonstrator platform will be extended with an additional proprietary radio link and a private LTE cell, resulting in a total of four links used in parallel. SKATES modules will also be integrated with the partners’ ground-based and aerial rescue robot systems.

News on project homepage: DRZ - Forschung trifft auf Einsatz

Location & approach

The campus of TU Dort­mund University is located close to interstate junction Dort­mund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dort­mund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is “Dort­mund-Eichlinghofen” (closer to South Campus), and from B 1 / A 40 “Dort­mund-Dorstfeld” (closer to North Campus). Signs for the uni­ver­si­ty are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dort­mund.

To get from North Campus to South Campus by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at North Campus and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.

TU Dort­mund University has its own train station (“Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät”). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dort­mund main station (“Dort­mund Hauptbahnhof”) and Düsseldorf main station via the “Düsseldorf Airport Train Station” (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 20 or 30 minutes). The uni­ver­si­ty is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.

You can also take the bus or subway train from Dort­mund city to the uni­ver­si­ty: From Dort­mund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station “Stadtgarten”, usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At “Stadtgarten” you switch trains and get on line U42 towards “Hombruch”. Look out for the Station “An der Palmweide”. From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dort­mund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dort­mund main station to the stop “Dort­mund Kampstraße”. From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop “Dort­mund Wittener Straße”. Switch to bus line 447 and get off at “Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S”.

The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dortmund Airport (DTM) to Dortmund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dortmund Central Station, you can continue to the university campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of international flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the university station.

The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dort­mund University. There are two stations on North Campus. One (“Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S”) is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the uni­ver­si­ty directly with the city of Dort­mund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the “Technologiepark” and (via South Campus) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at North Campus and offers a direct connection to South Campus every five minutes.

The facilities of TU Dortmund University are spread over two campuses, the larger Campus North and the smaller Campus South. Additionally, some areas of the university are located in the adjacent “Technologiepark”.

Site Map of TU Dortmund University (Second Page in English).