The project SALICE aimed at identifying innovative solutions that can be integrated in a reconfigurable NAV/COM (navigation/communication) device and studying their feasibility in a realistic scenario.
SALICE also sought to contribute to current research activities carried out by the scientific community at national and international level. To this aim, the project made use of the recommendations and terminology made the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).
The main objective of SALICE was the definition of basic scenarios and system architectures allowing the design of new and effective integrated communications and localisation solutions, i.e. NAV / COM devices based on Software Defined Radio (SDR) and Cognitive Radio (CR) technologies, integration of satellites and stratospheric stations for rescue services and heterogeneous solutions in intervention areas (IAN, network in accident areas).
The concept of “cooperative localisation” of emergency units (teams and physical elements) is of outmost importance for the coordination, organisation and management of emergency situations (localisation and rescue of victims, secure damaged areas, etc.)
Exactly locating and following emergency units in both outdoor and indoor environments, thanks to the integration with proper cooperative infrastructures and communication systems, is currently the most relevant technological advancement in emergency response strategies. Cooperative localisation can in fact properly support emergency situations when Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) services are out of order or only partially available.
In order to meet the telecommunication requirements for the management of the first response phase of an emergency situation, SALICE project activities have been focused on two main research areas: achieving global coverage of the emergency area and providing the rescuers with advanced NAV/COM capable devices.
The identification of the SALICE baseline scenario, the definition of the emergency system requirements and of the architectural specifications have permitted to investigate both the long and short range technologies able to guarantee the required global coverage (within the area of intervention and between the emergency area and the external areas). The integration and cooperation of space and terrestrial segments has been investigated together with the analysis of the PHY technologies, of the interference effects and of the protocol solutions which can be effectively adopted in the heterogeneous IAN for location/environment data delivery.
The viability of a SDR approach in the design of an intelligent NAV/COM device has been thoroughly studied. For the implementation of a reconfigurable and flexible user terminal able to modify itself to cope with any NAV/COM requirements, the integration in a single box of several communication standards and of communication and localization/navigation systems has been considered and the main achieved results have been presented: a SDR NAV/COM demonstrator for rescue operations management in an emergency scenario and a multi-modal reconfigurable terminal.
As confirmed by the obtained results, the solutions proposed to cope with the main telecommunication problems of an emergency situation management represent promising strategies that can be seen as a starting point for further investigation.
On a more general point of view, the SALICE project has proven that space and terrestrial communication networks and navigation and communication systems must complement each other in emergency scenarios: in fact, where terrestrial networks are partially or totally destroyed by the disaster, space-based systems can effectively complement surviving telecommunication infrastructures (e.g., still operating cellular and wireless systems) and MANETs and WSNs (Wireless Sensor Networks), to provide communication restore on a wide coverage and efficient support to first responders' interventions. Space-based systems also may offer back-hauling capability to self-organizing distributed wireless networks and help to de-congest the (survived) wireless terrestrial infrastructure when any. On the other hand, the cooperation between navigation and communication services allows to assist all the FRs in their operations, also when bad propagation conditions are experienced. Future studies and development could include a monitoring system as complementary to the communication and navigation ones.