Can Unmanned Aerial Systems Help Search for Missing Persons in the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion?


RWTH’s Chair and Institute of Flight System Dynamics and the City of Aachen are collaborating in the research project "GrenzFlug", translated as “border flight” in English. The aim of the project is to analyze the integration of unmanned aerial systems in cross-border search and rescue missions.


The project is financed by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure as part of their mFUND initiative, which particularly promotes projects focusing on digital applications for mobility 4.0. The initiative also supports event formats for networking players from politics, industry, and research.

Fast Search Even in Hard-to-Reach Areas

Effectively and rapidly managing dangerous situations is crucial in search and rescue missions in large, unclear areas. While ground-based search operations are time-consuming and require a lot of staff, automated aerial systems can arrive at affected sites fast and systematically search even the hardest to reach areas.

RWTH and the City of Aachen will initially work with rescue services in the Euroregion – a border area spanning Aachen and the east of Belgium and the Netherlands – to develop the conditions for the integration of unmanned aircraft in cross-border rescue missions. One challenge is that the three countries have different national legal frameworks. Researchers at RWTH's Chair and Institute of Flight System Dynamics will then modify an unmanned aircraft that can take off and land vertically as a tilt wing aircraft and also cover long distances, even out of a controller’s range of vision. The tilt wing aircraft is ultimately intended to automatically provide rescue services with information during rescue operations.

Urban Air Mobility Initiative

The "GrenzFlug” project is integrated into the Urban Air Mobility initiative, which the city of Aachen joined in September 2018 to become part of the association of MAHHL cities: Maastricht, Aachen, Hasselt, Heerlen, and Liège. The initiative of the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities, EIP-SCC for short, aims to accelerate the use of innovative aviation technologies and their implementation in urban and regional areas.

Source: Press and Communications


Isabelle Barz, M.Sc.
Chair and Institute of Flight System Dynamics at RWTH
Phone: +49 241 8096821

Mirijam Böhme, M.A.
Department of Economy, Industry, and Europe for the City of Aachen
Phone: +49 241 4327618