CLOSE-SEARCH - Accurate and safe EGNOS-SoL Navigation for UAV-based low-cost SAR operations

Start: 01 February 2010
End: 31 August 2011
Funding: European
Status: Due
Division: Geomatics
Department: Geodesy and Navigation (GEON)
Code: 248137

CLOSE-SEARCH is a research project lead by the former Institute of Geomatics (IG) with the participation of Asociación de la Industria Navarra (AIN), DEIMOS Engenharia, École Polytechnique Fédéral de Lausanne (EPFL), Institut Cartogràfic de Catalunya (ICC) and Direcció General de Protecció Civil (DGPC). CLOSE-SEARCH is funded by the European Union’s 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (7FP) under the funding scheme of “Innovative Applications targeted to SMEs “in response to the Call FP7-GALILEO-2008-GSA-1 (Objective 7.4.1 Exploiting the Full Potential, Topic GALILEO.2008.1.1.1 (a) Use of EGNOS Services for Mass Market”

The goal of CLOSE-SEARCH is to integrate in a small Unmanned Aircraft (UA), a thermal imaging sensor and a multi-sensor BA/RINS/GPS-EGNOS-based navigation system with an Autonomous Integrity Monitoring (AIM) capability, to support the search component of search-and-rescue (SAR) operations in remote, difficult-to-access areas and/or in time critical situations. The proposed integration will result in a HW & SW prototype that will demonstrate an end-to-end functionality. For reasons of manoeuvrability the proposed UA will be a helicopter. It is also the goal of CLOSE-SEARCH to demonstrate the added value of a future multi-constellation augmented GNSS configuration, like Galileo/GPS-EGNOS or Galileo/GPS-SoL.

The context of CLOSE-SEARCH is that of search-and-rescue (SAR) operations in a number of critical circumstances ranging from “outdoor sports” to natural or man-made disasters. This context covers a broad range –if not all– situations: from position-tagged –georeferenced– distress calls, to loosely-georeferenced and non-georeferenced ones. The proposed search system can be operated day and night in rather inaccessible areas. By systematically flying over a region and through the detection of the body heat, CLOSE-SEARCH is intended to identify disaster survivors or lost people. In other words, CLOSE-SEACH would be a low-cost and robust system to support the SAR search component in situations of just approximate knowledge of the search geographic area.

Under the proposed concept, upon a loosely-georeferenced distress call, an UA integrated in an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), will be transported to the closest possible point to the emergency-area and launched to systematically scan the area with a thermal sensor following a predefined 3D flying path derived from available 3D geospatial databases. The thermal images (TIs) will be transferred to the control system of the UAS (CS), on-line via the UAS/datalink or off-line upon return of the UAS/UA to the UAS/CS. The TIs will be analysed in search of candidate locations for the persons under search.

In addition to the CLOSE-SEARCH team core members, a User Advisory Board (UAB) will be created composed by the DGPC and other potential or interested end users including organizations in Spain, Portugal and Switzerland. The IG will be responsible for extending the Spanish membership of the UAB, DME and EFPL will identify and invite Portuguese and Swiss members respectively.


  • Asociación de la Industria Navarra (Spain)
  • DEIMOS Engenharia ( Portugal)
  • École Polytechnique Fédéral de Lausanne ( Switzerland)
  • Institut Cartogràfic de Catalunya ( Spain)
  • Direcció General de Protecció Civil (Spain)


  • Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland)