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To boldly evacuate what nobody evacuated before

Staff writer |
Thanks to EU-funded research, evacuating large passenger ships could be even smoother and safer in future. EU-funded researchers are also helping to design more stable cruise ships and ferries.

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The three-year LYNCEUS project, which ends in early 2015, is demonstrating how low-power wireless technologies can help localise and track people onboard ships, providing essential information in cases of evacuation, and improve overboard search and rescue. The aim is to revolutionise current emergency management and ship evacuation practice.

"We have developed innovative wireless tags, which can be embedded into life jackets, so the location of people within the ship can be easily pinpointed," said Dr. Anastasis Kounoudes, technical leader and CEO of SignalGeneriX, one of the project partners.

"This will provide safety officers with the exact location of every passenger and crew member during an evacuation."

The technology can also be used to monitor the health of patients requesting to wear special bracelets, or help parents keep track of the location of their children on large cruise ships, which can carry thousands of passengers and crew. The researchers in the project have also developed a radar device able to detect the exact location of passengers who have fallen overboard.

By redesigning the ships they would have up to 20% more chance of surviving groundings or collisions. These results have been submitted to the International Maritime Organization to improve safety standards and calculations for cruise vessels. The GOALDS project is part of a framework of EU-funded research to improve maritime safety.