School of Architecture and Civil Engineering

Investigation of an evacuation assistant for use in emergencies during large-scale public events

As part of the German Government's high-tech strategy, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has launched a programme on “Research for Civil Security”. The field of “Protecting and Saving Human Life” in this programme includes funding for the project Hermes.

The collaborative Hermes project aims to improve safety for people in large multifunctional buildings and also at big events by exploring the effectiveness of an evacuation assistant. This assistant predicts bottlenecks in advance in order to help decision-makers (operators, security services, police and firefighters) assessing conditions correctly, thereby enabling the optimal use of security personnel and rescue forces. In addition, it offers the ability to analyse potentially dangerous situations prior to the events. The preparation of appropriate emergency plans or the specifically targeted training of security forces can help to meet the challenges that such situations present. The evacuation assistant system will be tested in the ESPRIT arena in Düsseldorf (max. 66,000 spectators) in 2011.

Coupling the simulation core to the safety and security management system and counting people by means of automated image processing will make it possible to obtain simulation results pertaining to actual danger conditions for the first time. Using the available data about the distribution of people and the availability of rescue routes, a parallel computer will generate a faster-than-real-time simulation to predict the movement of all people present during the next 15 minutes and update it at one-minute intervals, thereby providing immediate simulation results for crowd management. A communication module will provide necessary and up-to-date information to the emergency teams on site. In order to optimise the underlying models of pedestrian dynamics, researchers will conduct comprehensive field studies and laboratory tests that will make it possible to validate the construction and planning regulations, which are currently somewhat contradictory. In addition, the research project will be complemented by an investigation of the user requirements and by an accompanying socio-scientific study.

Project partners

  • Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC), Jülich
  • University of Wuppertal, Civil Engineering Department, Chair for Construction Materials Technology and Fire Protection, Wuppertal
  • Imttech Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG, Hamburg
  • Multifunktionsarena Immobiliengesellschaft mbH & Co. KG (ESPRIT arena), Düsseldorf
  • PTV Planung Transport Verkehr AG, Karlsruhe
  • TraffGO HT GmbH, Duisburg
  • University of Bonn, Geographic Institute, Bonn
  • Cologne University, Institute for Theoretical Physics, Cologne
  • Vitracom AG, Karlsruhe
  • Düsseldorf Fire Brigade · Düsseldorf
  • Police Headquarters, Düsseldorf
  • North Rhine-Westphalia State Office for Central Police Services, Neuss
  • Special Security Service SSSD GmbH, Bergheim

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