NIST’s Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) Division has awarded $8 million to the Crisis Technologies Innovation Lab at Indiana University’s (IU) Pervasive Technology Institute to implement a prize competition aimed at developing indoor localization technologies that support first responders in a variety of mission types. The multi-phase challenge serves to build a community of experts in localization and public safety who can examine the potential myriad of solutions to this pressing issue. IU expects to officially launch the open competition in fall 2021.
The award, known as the Public Safety Innovation Accelerator Program (PSIAP) First Responder 3D Indoor Tracking (FR3D) Prize, is the first time that NIST has awarded a cooperative agreement that will be implemented as a prize competition.
Keeping First Responders Safe Indoors
The goal of the FR3D Prize is to demonstrate indoor localization and tracking of first responders within one-meter accuracy in a variety of buildings without any pre-deployed infrastructure, like Wi-Fi access points or Bluetooth beacons. However, this technical challenge is difficult to solve.
People can track their location outdoors because of a Global Navigation Satellite System, commonly known as GPS, where satellite signals can be translated into location information. However, this system does not function as well indoors because the signals that are so easily transmitted outside are reduced significantly inside a building where concrete and other materials disrupt the data from being sent and received.
This poses a problem for public safety because every year, firefighters die, are seriously injured, or become lost, separated, or difficult to locate inside buildings. Accurate indoor tracking could radi ..