CSIRO responds to emergencies


The new high-accuracy terrestrial localisation systems are suitable for diverse applications, from tracking workers in emergency situations to following cyclists racing around a track.

CSIRO has signed a $1 million collaboration to develop the technology for emergency purposes in conjunction with Emergency Management Australia (EMA), Australian Radiation Protection & Nuclear Safety Agency and the National Security Science & Technology Branch within the Dept of the Prime Minister & Cabinet.

Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland says the technology could prove to be an invaluable tool for Australian emergency service workers, especially when searching for injured or lost people in hazardous situations. "It has the potential to save lives," he added.

This contract aims to pave the way for commercialisation of the technology for use in emergency management to start in about three years.

CSIRO recently commercialised the technology for use in tracking racehorses and vehicles with Sydney-based Trantek Systems.The early solution uses fixed base station infrastructure located around the perimeter of the race track.

According to Dr Mark Hedley, principal research scientist at CSIRO's ICT Centre the new high-accuracy terrestrial localisation systems use radio frequency tracking technologies and aim to be cost effective. They consist of a network of wireless nodes that can be combined with sensors to enable monitoring of environmental variables.

Dr Hedley said that emergency personnel sent into a dangerous situation could, for instance, wear sensors that monitor their heart rate and core temperature, as well as gas or radiation levels in the surrounding environment, and exact readings of these factors can be transmitted back to a base station.

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