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Emergency Situational Awareness

Navtech's situational awareness gives emergency services a live picture of any incident, regardless of smoke or fire.

Image of Hindhead tunnel
The challenge

Fire and smoke are key barriers to building a clear picture of any vehicle incident. This problem is particular challenge in tunnels, where even the best ventilation is at risk of putting emergency responders and casualties in danger. In normal traffic, cameras are often used to understand the position of vehicles, responders and pedestrians within a tunnel. When an incident occurs these are rapidly blinded, and thermal cameras fail shortly after.

To respond to an incident safely and efficiently, smoke divers need a clear picture of the situation they’re heading into. Without this response times are slowed – in the Gudvanga tunnel coach fire in 2015 it took smoke divers 1.5 hours to find the last people in the tunnel, who then required hospital treatment for smoke injuries.

The AIBN (Accident Investigation Board Norway) called for technology that can provide ‘a real-time overview of the number of vehicles, their location and the number of people inside the tunnel’ to minimise the impact of a tunnel fire.

How will it work?

Navtech Radar’s rotating radar solution is unaffected by changing weather or light conditions, as well as seeing through smoke and fire. This allows a clear image to be processed even in the event of a major incident. This key property of radar is part of the reason for the deployment of Navtech as an existing alerts system worldwide.

Our new development – Emergency Situational Awareness (ESA) – places the live data from Navtech’s sensors into the hands of emergency responders. By providing a remotely accessible, simplified view of points of information (POIs) vehicle and pedestrian positions a clear picture of the response required can rapidly be put together.

The system is designed to work in conjunction with the Traffic Data User Interface, aiding collaborative response between road operators and emergency services.

Navtech's Emergency Situational Awareness View

The system is designed to be remotely accessible by first responders, ensuring that travel time is no barrier to planning, maximising the time on site to respond and ensure the safety of all involved. This is complemented by the system being designed to report radar health, ensuring that the information provided is accurate and reliable.


Navtech’s Emergency Situation Awareness allows smoke divers to move forward in tunnels at a much faster rate, whilst maintaining safe understanding of the situation around them. This in turn impacts the outcome of incidents, reducing the risk of smoke injuries to the people involved. Further to this, there is a significant reduction in the time that smoke divers are exposed to a hazardous environment.

By being able to trust a reliable, accurate system in all conditions the safety and effectiveness of emergency response to tunnel fires will dramatically increase.

Expected technical performance

  • Reliable and accurate through smoke and fire
  • Simplified view allows clear situation awareness 
  • Remote access of live data
  • All key points of information visible
  • Easy to read schematic and icons

Watch Navtech's radars tested against vision-based and thermal cameras in conditions of smoke and fire.

"Having seen the dedication to risk mitigation within the road tunnel industry, it’s fantastic to bring something to aid emergency responders in some of the hardest situations they may face. This product highlights our core focus on safety, and I believe has the potential to save a significant number of lives."

ITS Product Manager, Navtech Radar

Contact us to trial this technology

Article first published: 17/01/2023

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