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|Visual Localization System for Fire Brigade Using BIM Technology|
Visual Localization System for Fire Brigade Using BIM Technology
By Paula Smyczek, Faculty of Fire Safety Engineering; Piotr Tofilo, Section of Construction Safety; Adam Krasuski, Section of Computer Science, Main School of Fire Service, Warsaw, Poland
This article describes a research proposal that has been awarded the 2017 Chief Donald J. Burns Memorial Research Grant by the SFPE Foundation through a partnership with Bentley Systems. The initiative will further develop the Main School of Fire Service’s existing research to develop a system that uses simple radio beacons attached to existing smoke detectors, which uses BIM technology to allow calculation of firefighter locations in a building.
This article contains a description of the proposed research project, which focuses on the visual localization system for fire brigade using radio beacons, acceleration measurements and Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology. Reliable information about the location of firefighters in the building is vital for safe firefighting operations since it provides increased level of awareness for commanding officers who then can use available staff safely and more efficiently.
Current State of Research
The proposed system uses localization devices— radio beacons and receivers—and acceleration measurements to provide the exact location of each firefighter in a building. Radio beacons are simple electronic devices that can be attached to existing smoke detectors. The signal from beacons and the acceleration measurement is used to calculate the position of the firefighter equipped with measurements. Current real-time positions of firefighters can be presented to the commanding officer and remote command centers using a web interface and wireless connection. The key part of the visualization system is BIM technology, which provides visual context with floor layouts and important relevant information about the building.
The system includes:
The visual localization system for a fire brigade is used for determining and reporting the position of firefighters in real time in the building during a rescue and firefighting action. For this purpose, the system included radio beacons installed in the building (with a density of one or two beacons per room, coinciding with the density distribution of fire detectors). Changes in the propagation of the radio signal strength (RSSI) are measured and then adapted to the current readings to determine the most probable position. The navigation technology inside the building is achieved through the use of dead reckoning, which consists of estimating a traveled path from a known position (in this case, the GPS data collected by the building). The position is corrected by readings and radio fingerprinting techniques.
Figure 1: Mounted radio beacon
Figure 2: Radio beacons Figure 3: Radio receiver
The system consists of two elements:
To adapt a building to a positioning system, it is necessary to provide for radio beacons in the building and collect radio fingerprinting. This consists of recording the signal strength in known positions and creating the artificial neural network based on the training exercise (such as the process illustrated in Figure 4).
The data is processed in real time by a data acquisition unit integrated with clothes and transmitted to the module ICRA by radio. From there, the firefighters are getting into the system and are visualized by their commander. Their position is determined by geographical coordinates. The system operates only in the building, in the open area using the GPS receiver.
Figure 5: The position of firefighter.
Thus far, the localization system ICRA works in principle, but it has weaknesses in terms of precision of localization for both types of localization devices—radio beacons/receivers and accelerometers. The problem appears as fluctuation of the firefighter position, which is serious, because it sometimes leads to situations where a firefighter may be temporarily in a different room or sometimes on a different floor from what is shown. For practical purposes, such lack of precision may lead to bad decisions. Thus, there is a need to combine readings from both sources to increase the precision of localization. This requires developing dedicated algorithms that will use various approaches to stabilize the location of the firefighter, including probabilistic assessment of various events such as a sudden change of position or using BIM data to reduce the probability of unlikely situations such as passing through the wall or through the floor.
The plan for further research includes:
The ability to localize firefighters precisely in a building during their activities would be a huge achievement. The results of this research will contribute to:
The proposed research will be carried out within the stated timeframe and a presentation about the project will be submitted to the 2018 SFPE North America Conference and to the official SFPE journal, Fire Technology, for possible publication.