The expertise of the Fraunhofer Institutes EMI, FOKUS, IOSB and IVI is brought together in cross-institute projects: coupled simulations are used to record the emergence and effects of complex socio-technical threats or incidents and to derive procedures for strengthening security and societal resilience. Each pilot project follows its own technical focus within the course of a crisis (“resilience cycle”) and is linked to an exemplary crisis scenario. This ensures that the simulations are both realistic and generically transferable to other situations.

The initial projects deal with the following topics:

istock/ shih-wei

Secure supply networks and infrastructure

(Scenario: Failures of critical infrastructure during natural disasters)

The objective is to develop a system to virtually model structural and infrastructural vulnerability and functional impairments of a city district in a heavy rainfall scenario and to make damage predictions based on this. This ranges from flooding of streets that can no longer be accessed by rescue units, to critical conditions in buildings that require immediate evacuation, to the failure of communication and supply networks (Internet, telecommunications, electricity, gas, water). This project investigates for example the propagation speed of the disturbances and cascading effects, but also measures for uninterrupted power supply by means of emergency power systems and new warning methods for short-term interaction with the population. The result will be a demonstrator that will be made available to rescue forces and commanders, for example in the context of training courses, as well as to authorities and organizations for safety and security and operators of critical infrastructure for decision support or as a moderation tool in the field of urban planning.

Key functions and components:

  • Visualization of a critical scenario, its evolution and impact on neighborhoods, as well as consequences and population responses.
  • Analysis of the extreme impact on built structures
  • Investigation of the impacts and cascading effects in the event of a disruption or failure of infrastructure networks
  • Development of a simulation platform for the analysis of artificial situations for educational purposes, as a training or moderation tool, especially for the coordination of rescue units
SIRIOS, Simulation, 970x305px
Fraunhofer FOKUS/ Matthias Heyde

Protection and response capability of emergency forces, helpers and the population

(Scenario: Failures of critical infrastructure during natural disasters).

The objective is to develop a platform to improve the protection and response capabilities of responders, helpers and the population in extreme weather situations. The system supports mission command in time-critical operational/tactical decisions with real-time data, simulations and visualizations of the situation, and intelligent decision support algorithms. The effect of options for action and measures can thus be analyzed and evaluated in advance. In addition, the platform will also offer functions for strategic analyses (ex-ante) and training. The range of functions thus far surpasses the command & control systems used in emergency response to date, especially through the integration of simulations, which have so far only been available to experts (mostly offline). The platform's open interfaces also enable the quick integration of new models, algorithms and sensors. In addition, the components and systems can be adapted in the future for other nature-related or man-made safety scenarios (e.g., power outages due to technical failure or cyberattacks, forest fires, large-scale events).

Key functions and components:

  • Improvement of situational awareness by using real-time sensor data and interpreted data (e.g. from drone imagery): detection and assessment of flooding, destruction, navigability, traffic movements or groups of people.
  • Prediction of the development in the coming hours by using simulation modules: e.g. modeling of cascade effects in networks of critical infrastructure, damage to buildings, power poles, trees as well as the affected population.
  • Vivid situation visualization by mapping current drone images onto existing landscape models.
  • Decision support and mission optimization for operational/tactical measures, e.g. for the approach and release of emergency forces.
SIRIOS, Simulation, 970x305px
Fraunhofer FOKUS/ Matthias Heyde

Interactive, virtual situation visualization

(Scenario: Man-made damage situations at large events)

The objective is to develop a system for mission planning and decision support in the preparation, prevention and protection of safety-critical situations such as large-scale events. Operational commanders can use it to design and optimize physical protection measures in virtual space, for example by juxtaposing mobile or stationary access protection barriers with possible escape and rescue routes or simulating impacts with cars in the event of terrorist attacks on the basis of three-dimensional models of the scene. Integrated tools support the planning and commenting of the virtual missions and thus enable preparatory measures as well as debriefings and downstream analyses. A networked multi-user virtual reality environment provides all participants in the simulation with a common, digital, three-dimensional picture of the situation, without them having to be in this environment in real life or even at the same location. In addition, information that is invisible in the real world can be visualized in the situation image, for example, the coverage area of surveillance cameras or the location of utility lines underground. The developed demonstrator and the simulation results (e.g. from panic scenarios, crisis situations, physical protection measures) are available to crowd managers as well as authorities and organizations for safety and security for situational awareness, training purposes and hazard analyses.

Key functions and components:

  • Simulation of artificial situations.
  • Construction of (current) three-dimensional models.
  • Conceptual design of physical protection measures.
  • Optimization of the deployment of forces and resources.
  • Analysis and optimization of communication network infrastructure.
SIRIOS Simulation
Fraunhofer FOKUS/ Matthias Heyde

Efficiency of communication and operation

(Scenario: Man-made incidents at major events)

The objective is to develop a system for virtually planning and evaluating security concepts for large-scale events, especially with regard to the capability of the organizers and responsible authorities. The project focuses on the planning of means of communication, the testing and optimization of communication strategies in critical situations as well as the training of employees. For this purpose, the system uses agent-based simulations with which visitor flows and their reaction to an incident can be simulated and analyzed. This is based on a model of behavioral parameters and available tools for warning (e.g. in terms of audibility and visibility), which is used to assess the number of people and their individual actions after the incident has occurred. In order to get a better overview of the situation, the simulation is presented not only in 2D but also in virtual 3D space and supported by intelligent image and video evaluation, situation visualization and analysis. The researched tools for warning and the behavioral models defined are transferable to other scenarios, such as critical situations in airports, train stations, or hospitals.

Key features and components:

  • Behavioral parameters and the range of tools for warning.
  • Communication system for decision support.
  • Agent-based simulation system for visitor flows.
  • Intelligent video analysis system for crowd monitoring.
  • Visualization of simulation data in 2D and 3D space.