The ALADIN project demonstrates a 5G-based solution for forest firefighting in Brandenburg, Germany
News from Sep. 28, 2023
At the airfield in Schönhagen, ALADIN partners today demonstrated how a temporary local 5G network can improve forest firefighting. In various field tests, an overall solution was integrated so that emergency forces can now be networked, firefighting robots and drones can be controlled, and situational images can be transmitted to the operations center in real-time.
The challenges in the fight against forest fires are diverse and demanding: There is often no or only poor cellular reception in the forest, the areas are difficult to access and may even be contaminated with munitions. To better address these challenges, the ALADIN (Advanced Low Altitude and Data Information System) project uses a temporary, reliable 5G communications network – “out of the box”. This enables precise control of firefighting vehicles, real-time transmission of video and data streams to mission control, and communication between responders.
ALADIN today demonstrated the prototypical overall solution at the Schönhagen airfield in Brandenburg. Since May 2022, the partners, under the leadership of the Technical University of Wildau, have been testing the integration of a drone, the crawler firefighting vehicle, and the emergency services into the 5G network in various field trials.
A drone was integrated into the network, providing the emergency services with a real-time situational picture in the command module and on mobile devices. For this purpose, the aerial drone can remain in the air for up to eight hours.
The ALADIN project also tested an unmanned, heavy-duty firefighting crawler that is precisely steered up to 1,500 meters via the 5G network to the source of the fire. This system is equipped with a novel hose system that continuously supplies the tracked vehicle with firefighting water. This method enables emergency forces to work within the restricted safety zone of 1,000 meters around the source of the fire, even if munitions are suspected to be in the ground.
The temporary, local 5G network is based on the Nomadic Node from Fraunhofer FOKUS. The 5G Nomadic Node setup comprises robust, transportable server cases for the necessary hardware and software. Communication with the operations center can also be established via the satellite network if required.
“The ALADIN project marks a significant advance in forest firefighting and incident command in challenging environments.” said Silvio Kahle, district fire chief, Brandenburg State. “The combination of highly mobile 5G communication networks, drone technology, and innovative solutions for firefighting operations paves the way for more effective and safer measures in managing forest fires, especially on suspected munitions sites.”
The project is funded by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) with almost 4 million euros and coordinated by the Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau.
In addition to the Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau, the consortium consists of the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems FOKUS from Berlin, the city of Trebbin and the associated municipal fire department, the Schönhagen airfield company and the companies ReloConsult GmbH from Dreieich and Smart Mobile Labs from Munich.