are in the area, including first responders (FRs), humanitarian aid organizations, and news reporters, as well as locals. A key aim for many of these actors
is to assess the situation to determine
the areas to focus on in the coming days
and weeks. To assist in this task, a number of the organizations have UASs that
can be used for aerial exploration and a
number of locals have installed sensors
to monitor the environment (for example, two weeks after the Fukushima incident, locals had built and deployed over
500 Geiger counter sensors and were
uploading their readings; see http://
jncm.ecs.soton.ac.uk/), in addition to
many locals using social media platforms such as Ushahidi or Google Crisis
Response to record requests for help
and complete maps of the stricken area.
A representative system architecture for
this HAC is shown in the accompanying
figure and an associated video is available at http://vimeo.com/76205207.
As can be seen, the information infrastructure contains a wide variety of
content (for example, maps of roads
and key amenities, weather forecasts,
and social media reports from locals in
the affected areas), from many sources.
Some of these sources provide higher
quality, more trustworthy information
than others (for example, international
aid organizations versus locally built environmental sensor readings). To help
account for and justify the decisions
that are made, the provenance of information is stored wherever possible.
Moreover, the decisions made by both
responders and autonomous agents (
including UASs) are tracked to ensure all
members of the HAC are accountable
for their actions and the successes and
failures of the rescue effort can be better
understood when such data is reviewed
at a later stage.
At the start of a day, the various actors
(for example, FRs or local volunteers)
register their availability and relevant
resources (for example, UAS, ground
transport vehicles or medical supplies)
and indicate specific tasks they would
like to perform (for example, search
the area near the school or determine
if there is running water in a particular
district). These tasks will be informed
by their current assessment of the situ-
ation and may be influenced by particu-
lar requests from locals for assistance.
As a first step, some actor constructs
a plan to achieve one or more of the
tasksb (that is, the HAC forms). This
plan is likely to involve constructing
teams of people, agents, and resources
to work together on a variety of subtasks
because many activities are likely to be
beyond the capability of just one team
b It may be a human or a software agent that proposes the initial plan. Moreover, multiple actors may attempt to construct plans simultaneously, some of which may not come to fruition.
HAC system for disaster response.