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Facing the challenges of UAS use: COLLARIS trial on improving cooperation

By project COLLARIS Network staffPublished on

How can first responders using drones and other UAS work together efficiently, and how can cooperation between different organizations be improved? This was one of the core questions adressed by a COLLARIS trial planned and conducted by MSB (Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency) in collaboration with the Fire and Rescue Service Skaraborg (RS), the Region of Västra Götaland (RVG), and the Swedish Police. The two-day event took place at the Hasslum training grounds in Skövde, Sweden on May 22 and 23, 2024, and was divided into live exercises and virtual simulations, and aimed to improve the cooperation between first responders. On May 24, the COLLARIS Network held its second Plenary Meeting in Skövde, which was a good opportunity ity to promote the project activities, to discuss challenges and opportunities of the use of UAS in emergency management, and to give an idea of what the coming years might (and should) bring.

Insights from the trial

During the COLLARIS trial in Skövde, valuable insights for future crisis management and drone use emerged. The readiness and importance of drones in early-stage incident assessment was demonstrated as well as the need for collaboration between various actors. The following are some of the insights and recommendations that arose during the trial:

Technical Evaluation and Use of Drones

  1. Quick Overview and Response Planning: Drones provide rapid site overviews, aiding in better decision-making during incidents like apartment fires.
  2. 2D/3D Mapping: 2D maps are quick to generate and useful for initial planning, while 3D maps, though slower to create, offer detailed terrain views.
  3. Airspace Coordination: Effective management of airspace between drones and manned aircraft is critical to avoid collisions and ensure coordinated responses.

Operational Procedures and Collaboration

  1. Grey Zone Issues: Handling situations not clearly defined as peacetime or wartime requires adaptable procedures.
  2. Virtual and Live Exercises: Combining virtual and live exercises offers comprehensive training, allowing safe simulation of complex scenarios and practical experience.
  3. Exchange of Experience: Sharing insights and challenges among UAS experts is invaluable for improving crisis response capabilities.


  1. Develop standardized airspace coordination procedures.
  2. Continue investing in 2D/3D mapping technology.
  3. Regularly train on grey zone problems.
  4. Extend the use of virtual training platforms.
  5. Continue exchanging experiences within EU projects like COLLARIS.

Results and Lessons Learned

  • Improved collaboration and need for routine cooperation among various actors.
  • Drones are essential for quick overviews and response planning, with identified areas for technical improvements.
  • Virtual exercises complement practical training and offer insights into handling war-like scenarios.

Thanks and next steps

The COLLARIS Network would like to thank everyone taking part in the trial which was a valuable opportunity not just to train for real emergencies, but also to exchange experiences and insights. The Network will continue its efforts with another trial in Innsbruck in mid-June, as well as another exercise in Poland in autumn. 



COLLARIS (COLLaborative network on unmanned AeRIal Systems) is a capacity-building initiative to develop a sustainable European network of scientific, engineering, and end-user expertise related to unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in civil protection and disaster response. Learn more.

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