“Mayday” is a universal distress message that no firefighters or first responders want to hear. These emergency responders use a “Mayday” message when they are trapped, low on air, and disorientated. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), approximately 80 to 100 firefighters are lost in the line of duty each year. These public safety personnel often operate in very complex environments where GPS has significantly degraded accuracy or fails. Therefore, it is an immediate demand to have an accurate and robust 3D positioning system dedicated to firefighters to increase situational awareness and personal accountability.
Team ZOT<1m, located in Irvine, California, is a group of people who are dedicated to helping with solving this problem. We are developing a low-cost technology prototype that tracks the position of firefighters and first responders with 1-m accuracy along the x-, y-, and z-axis in a completely unknown environment. Our solution is a wearable system producing real-time localization solutions based on a promising indoor navigation technology that operates in a self-contained manner, does not require pre-deployed infrastructure, and provides consistently available localization solutions. The proposed approach is designed to improve the state-of-the-art indoor navigation technology by using augmentation with sensor fusion, machine learning, and Simultaneous Localization And Mapping (SLAM) approaches. With the proposed solution, we aim to increase firefighters’ accountability and situational awareness, allowing incident commanders or firefighters to instantaneously monitor critical personnel locations while navigating between different building types and extreme environmental conditions.