Leveraging communicating UAVs for emergency vehicle guidance in Urban Areas

Omar Sami Oubbati, Abderrahmane Lakas, Pascal Lorenz, Mohammed Atiquzzaman, Abbas Jamalipour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


The response time to emergency situations in urban areas is considered as a crucial key in limiting material damage or even saving human lives. Thanks to their 'bird's eye view' and their flexible mobility, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) can be a promising candidate for several vital applications. Under these perspectives, we investigate the use of communicating UAVs to detect any incident on the road, provide rescue teams with their exact locations, and plot the fastest path to intervene, while considering the constraints of the roads. To efficiently inform the rescue services, a robust routing scheme is introduced to ensure a high level of communication stability based on an efficient backbone, while considering both the high mobility and the restricted energy capacity of UAVs. This allows both predicting any routing path breakage prior to its occurrence, and carrying out a balanced energy consumption among UAVs. To ensure a rapid intervention by rescue teams, UAVs communicate in an ad hoc fashion with existing vehicles on the ground to estimate the fluidity of the roads. Our system is implemented and evaluated through a series of experiments. The reported results show that each part of the system reliably succeeds in achieving its planned objective.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8772106
Pages (from-to)1070-1082
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Emerging Topics in Computing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2021


  • Emergency vehicle
  • UAV
  • backbone
  • routing
  • search and rescue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Information Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications


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