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ROCSAFE changing the assessment and Forensic examination of CBRNe events.

The poisoning case in Salisbury has highlighted once more the dangers of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear or CBRNe events. In the Salisbury case several bystanders and first responders, beside the two original victims, were affected by the poison. In total it was alleged, that 21 persons were injured by the poison. However, in August 2019 it emerged that a second police officer had been injured while investigating the scene.

However, beside  or precisely because of the dangers, it is essential that an investigation be initiated immediately.

To enable this, while also keeping those investigating safe, the EU (H2020) funded ROCSAFE project has been exploring and developing new technologies to achieve this crucial goal.

Coordinated by the Irish NUI Galway University, the project has been developed by 13 partners. Research and development has been going on since July 2016 and will be completed by December 2019. If you want to stay informed you can follow the Project on twitter.

The Project

We will send robots into harm’s way instead of humans,” explains Professor Michael Madden the research coordinator.

Hence, ROCSAFE will use remotely-controlled robotic air and ground vehicles (RAVS/RGVs) that are designed for use in “rain, wind, and challenging ground surfaces and obstacles”.

In the first phase of a response, RAVs equipped with cameras and the ability to carry high-tech miniaturised sensor systems for CBRNe, will assess the scene. The data gathered will be sent to a Command and Control centre, from where investigators can view the area impacted by a potential CBRNe event remotely. Further, ROCSAFE will develop a new “Central Decision Management software to reduce the scene commander’s cognitive load”.

Having assessed the scene, the second phase of the response will now use RGVs. These RGVs will “collect forensic material/evidence, with automatically-optimised routes to avoid hazards.” The forensic material will be “collected, bagged, tagged, documented, and stored” by the RGV, further reducing the threat to human investigators.

Therefore, the ROCSAFE project will: “will ensure that CBRNe scenes are assessed more rapidly and thoroughly than is currently possible, and that forensic evidence is collected in a manner that stands up in court, without putting personnel at risk.”


Note: This Article is based on ROCSAFE´s website and an article about the project in the EU´s Horizon magazine

Author: Niklas Hamann


King, Anthony (2019). Sherlock Drones – automated investigators tackle toxic crime scenes In: HORIZON: The EU Research & Innovation Magazine Available at:

ROCSAFE (2019). Remotely Operated CBRNe Scene Assessment & Forensic Examination Available at:


ROCSAFE, CBRNe, technology, remote control