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UAV-Assisted Ad Hoc Networks for Crisis Management & Hostile Environment Sensing



Tobias Ostermann

Research Associate


+49 241 80 96517



The ANCHORS project started in 2012 as a joint project between France and Germany. During its runtime, 15 industry and scientific partners from both countries will develop a new approach for autononomous robotic systems helping to solve crisis situations.

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Project Overview

During the management of crisis situations, autonomous robotic systems can play a vital role in protecting the citizens as well as supporting the rescue forces. Within ANCHORS a new system combining unmanned ground and aerial vehicles to act as an autonomous sensor swarm. At the same time a flexible ad-hoc wireless communication infrastructure will be developed and validated.

The key use cases to be addressed in ANCHORS are:

  • Nuclear hazard incidents
  • Extensive disasters like conflagration

Within the project several research challenges will be addressed. The unmanned system platforms must be able to support long-range distances as well as long-endurance missions of several days by developing appropriate health management concepts which also consider adverse weather conditions. To address the specific use case of nuclear hazard incidents, new, light-weight, energy-efficient and yet highly sensitive sensors need to be developed and integrated with the UAVs. For the control of the robot swarms, autonomous agent intelligence needs to be designed and implemented to fulfill competing mission targets, such as maximum search coverage vs. continuous connectivity. The advanced swarm-based behavior of the ANCHORS system will be complemented by new communication architectures and protocols allowing for relaying, buffering and data ferrying to reliably transport payload as well as swarm-control data.

(Source: Joint proposal ANCHORS)


Tasks of the Institute of Flight System Dynamics of the RWTH Aachen

  • Robust mission control of the unmanned ANCHORS-system
    • Development of an autonomous starting und landing procedure for the UAVs on a mobile motherbot
    • Active health management
  • Integration of specific UAV's with cooperative swarm behaviour
  • System validation