Recent major natural disasters highlighted the emergence of a new type of risk that manifests itself when the natural and technological worlds collide. The impact of a natural disaster on a facility storing or processing dangerous substances can result in the release of hazardous materials with possibly severe off-site consequences through toxic-release, fire or explosion scenarios. EU regulation, namely Directive 2012/18/EU, among its new elements explicitly requires the analysis of NaTech (natural hazard triggering technological disasters) hazards. Main issue related to NaTech accidents is the simultaneous occurrence of a natural disaster and a technological accident, both of which require simultaneous response efforts in a situation in which lifelines needed for disaster mitigation are likely to be unavailable. In addition, hazardous-materials releases may be triggered from single or multiple sources in one installation or at the same time from several hazardous installations in the natural disaster's impact area, requiring emergency-management resources occupied with responding to the natural disaster to be diverted. In this paper it is proposed and evaluated the application of multi-rotor systems for NaTech accident emergency management. The drone should be equipped with visible and near-infrared sensors, a thermal camera and dedicated sensors for the sensing and monitoring of dangerous substances. The multi-rotor systems allow stationary flight inside the industrial plants avoiding the presence of a human operator near hazardous-materials release source. The WiFi connection allows real time data processing and management of the situation. This methodology represent an effective approach to NaTech disasters management and consequences evaluation.
This research is aimed at examining the added value of using Virtual Reality (VR) in a driving simulator to prevent road accidents, specifically by improving drivers' skills when confronted with extreme situations. In an experiment, subjects completed a driving scenario using two platforms: A 3-D Virtual Reality display system using an HMD (Head-Mounted Display), and a standard computerized display system based on a standard computer monitor. The results show that the average rate of errors (deviating from the driving path) in a VR environment is significantly lower than in the standard one. In addition, there was no compensation between speed and accuracy in completing the driving mission. On the contrary: The average speed was even slightly faster in the VR simulation than in the standard environment. Thus, generally, despite the lower rate of deviation in VR setting, it is not achieved by driving slower. When the subjects were asked about their personal experiences from the training session, most of the subjects responded that among other things, the VR session caused them to feel a higher sense of commitment to the task and their performance. Some of them even stated that the VR session gave them a real sensation of driving.