HELP system pinpoints locations for emergency services

From: AUT Global Buletin Release Article

date: 26/08/2019 11:00 a.m.

HELP system pinpoints locations for emergency services

New system gives local and central authorities opportunity to improve emergency response time.

A team of AUT electrical engineering Master/PhD graduates, directed by the Head of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Prof. Peter Chong, have worked with alumni Mr. Paul Chan to successfully launch an indoor positioning system called HELP, designed to reduce harm and potential loss of life by making it easier for emergency services to respond quickly and accurately.

The HELP app communicates with radio frequency communications installed in mandated infrastructure facilities common in large buildings to accurately locate and share location information with emergency services.

Unlike other location systems, HELP does not rely on a SIM card to be active in users’ mobile phones. It also has an uninterruptable power supply system, ensuring it stays on and can reliably help locate people well beyond the golden rescue time after the incident. A PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) international patent application has been filed and its novelty and patentability has been confirmed by the International Preliminary Examining Authority. International Patents are pending.

Mr. Chan says HELP gives emergency services the ability to quickly and reliably locate people in urban environments in an emergency. “Currently GPS location systems are notoriously patchy. HELP is accurate to a 2 m diameter, and will accurately locate which floor of a multilevel building someone is on. For someone trapped in a high-rise building in an emergency situation HELP is an absolute lifeline.”

HELP uses a Permanent Electronic Address System (PEAS) to provide accurate location information.

Prof. Chong says the system is an exciting one for AUT’s electrical engineering team to collaborate on. “We’ve developed a test bed in WS and have been able to accurately demonstrate HELP’s locating ability. We’re excited to continue developing this system and see it installed in public buildings in Auckland, and potentially around the world.

“AUT has a real focus on the future of our cities and the way future places will meet the needs of our people, and systems like HELP contribute to ongoing safety and emergency response,” says Prof. Chong.