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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 Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC) is coordinator of this project.



Project description and goals

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.
Innovations and applications

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

Grant period: November 2008 − October 2011