Air2X enables cooperative action of helicopter, drones and vehicles

October 13, 2021 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Air2X enables cooperative action of helicopter, drones and vehicles
In the Air2X project, the German Aerospace Center DLR, together with chip manufacturer NXP and air rescue organization ADAC Luftrettung, have developed a concept to make rescue missions by helicopters safer and faster, for example on motorways or country roads. A live demonstration proved that the concept is functional.

The focus is on communication between helicopters, networked vehicles and drones, also known as Air2X communication in technical jargon. The project partners are using the ITS-G5 radio standard, which is already being deployed in the field of vehicle-to-X communication. Using a radio transmitter on board the helicopter, the crew first sends a signal to any drones in the vicinity to clear the airspace for the rescue mission. It then informs the connected vehicles in the immediate vicinity of the accident site of the planned landing site. These vehicles then slow down, stop and form a barrier for any following vehicles. This creates a safe landing site; the helicopter crew can act independently of rescue forces on the ground and can reach the accident victims much faster. At the same time, the safety of the rescue forces in the air, on the ground and of third parties increases. The concept was now demonstrated in practice at the IST World Congress in Hamburg.

According to DLR Executive Board member Karsten Lemmer, the technology opens up further perspectives beyond the application shown, because tomorrow's mobility will be multimodal, i.e. it will network and combine different means of transport. "If we want to change future mobility, we have to think ahead today when it comes to technological and regulatory issues," explains Lemmer, who is responsible on the DLR Executive Board for innovation, transfer and scientific infrastructure. "That's why we bring together research, industry and users at Air2X. DLR research itself contributes know-how that encompasses the entire transport system: Expertise on highly automated and connected vehicles, on vehicle communication and traffic psychology, but also knowledge and experience in the field of ground-based air traffic and its management."

"On the vehicle side, we are working close to series technology in the Air2X project. We transmit a standardised message via radio. This contains the information about a rescue mission. The vehicle


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