A mobile laser unit is being developed that reduces the time it takes to rescue people in traffic accidents.
The project involves laser research centre, Laser Zentrum Hannover (LZH), in addition to several photonics and automobile companies such as Coherent, Laservision and Volkswagon.
The number of fatalities and severe injuries caused by road traffic accidents has reduced significantly in the past 25 years, partly due to the use of high-tensile steel and composite materials. However, in the case of an accident, these materials are difficult to cut through. The faster a person is freed, the higher the chances of survival, but existing rescue systems – such as power, plasma or hydraulic rescue cutters – require a lot of time to cut the car body, and in some cases fail.
The new laser system being developed is intended for use when conventional rescue tools fail, allowing emergency personnel to cut modern materials more quickly, or to broach them so that they can be cut faster with conventional tools.
The project will also investigate how the system can be used safely by the roadside, by evaluating shut-off devices as well as laser safety curtains, mats and glasses to protect the rescue team, the accident victim and uninvolved third parties.
Project partners of the LZH include: Coherent (Deutschland), SGE Spezialgeräteentwicklung, Weber-Hydraulik, eifeler Lasertechnik, LaserVision and Stadt Dortmund – Institut für Feuerwehr- und Rettungstechnologie.
Associated project partners are: Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und -medizin, Berufsgenossenschaft Energie Textil Elektro Medienerzeugnisse, DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung, DEKRA Automobil, GuS – Präzision in Kunststoff, Glas und Optik, Bundesanstalt Technisches Hilfswerk, Unfallkasse and Volkswagen.
The project is being sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the scope of the program ‘Civil safety – innovative rescue and safety systems’ until October 2019.