CURSOR – Coordinated Use of miniaturized Robotic equipment and advanced Sensors for search and rescue OpeRations



Emergency tape stretched in front of wreckage from the 6.4 earthquake in Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand, 22-2-2011

In the face of natural or manmade disaster, urban search and rescue teams and other first responders such as police, medical units or civil protection agencies race against the clock to locate survivors within the critical 72-hour timeframe, often at their own peril due to the presence of unstable structures or hazardous environments.

The CURSOR project ultimately seeks to match the operational needs of search and rescue teams with current technological capabilities.


To enhance the detection of survivors trapped in collapsed buildings and to improve working conditions for the first responders, the CURSOR project will devise novel technologies using drones, miniaturised robotic equipment and advanced sensors. It aims to help first responder teams work more quickly and efficiently in finding and helping survivors.

Our Role

Trilateral will be leading research on the ethical, legal, privacy and data protection aspects of the CURSOR project, hosting ethics and privacy training workshops for the consortium and conducting an Ethical/Privacy/Data Protection Impact Assessment of the project tools.

By collaborating with all project members as they develop, test and use the CURSOR technology, Trilateral will help identify and mitigate risks whilst supporting technology-driven innovation.



The project will most notably deliver the innovative CURSOR Search and Rescue Kit, which features miniaturised robots and different types of drones. The robots are equipped with chemical sensors that detect a wide range of chemical substances indicating a human presence. They are carried from the operations headquarters to the disaster site by a transport drone. On site, the robots work independently in clusters searching for survivors. Additionally, the Mothership UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) acts as an aerial hub that produces high-definition imaging for accurate visualisation of the disaster zone and allows communication with the control centre.



The CURSOR project’s impact includes the following:

  • Building new knowledge about field-validation of different tools, technologies and approaches involving first responders in (real-life) scenarios.
  • Creating novel tools, technologies, guidelines and methods aimed at facilitating and improving their operations.
  • Developing an easy and fast deployable system that provides more detailed and accurate information about the disaster area, as well as more accurate location and the state of health of trapped people.

For more information and updates, visit the CURSOR project website and follow us on Twitter.


Please contact our team for more information:


Mistale Taylor, Senior Research Analyst within the Applied Research and Innovation team at Trilateral Research



This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 832790

‘Risk Assessment Report and Methodology’

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