PANDORA - Advanced Training Environment for Crisis Scenarios
Nine partner EU FP7 project worth 2.93 million Euros of which the Greenwich budget is 300,000 Euros. Winner of Joint ICT and Security Call FP7-ICT-SEC-2007-1. Grant Agreement 225387.
Start and end dates
1st January 2010 to 31st March 2012
The PANDORA project is developing a novel digital support environment and crisis simulation system to enhance and expand training exercises for Gold Commanders in crisis management.
Gold Commanders are specifically engaged in the development of strategic plans to deal with a wide range of potential crisis situations that can arise in civil society. These crisis situations could be:
- Natural events, such as extreme weather, earthquake, landslides, etc.
- Transport events, such as plane, train or vehicle crashes
- Service failures, such as electrical power plant failure, water supply failure, etc.
- Health crises, such as pandemics, epidemics, containment conditions
- Technology failures, breakdown of automated control systems, central services
- Policing and terrorism events
- Some combination of some or all of the above
In order to develop strategic plans to deal with such situations, individuals who carry executive responsibility for the services and facilities identified as strategically critical within these situations are expected to work together to generate them. These individuals are identified as Gold Commanders, and their role is explicitly strategic rather than tactical (Silver) or operational (Bronze), although in practice some individuals may also have tactical or operational responsibility.
For the training offered to Gold Commanders, the focus is on strategic planning of the response to the crisis as it develops rather than operational activities. Currently, the model of training offered to these individuals consists of group-based, table-top activities led by an expert trainer. The bulk of the information provided to the trainees is paper-based, with some limited audio-visual input, and the activities take place during an intensive, time constrained training event. These events can take place in a dedicated training environment or in a standard meeting room at a Gold Commander venue, as required. The purpose of these training events is:
- To develop the collaborative skills of the trainees in formulating strategic responses across a number of organisations and events
- To develop the strategic thinking of the trainees in considering the implications of their decisions and the effects on other services
- To develop the responsive skills of trainees in developing alternative stratagems and remediating actions in the event of the failure of a strategic response
However, the existing training model has severe limitations in achieving these goals, and is almost entirely dependent on the ability of the trainer to engage and motivate the trainees, and to assess their performance subjectively in the training event.
The PANDORA system addresses the shortcomings of the existing training model, enhances the range and scope of the training events, and offers the potential for future development by:
- Offering a fully-featured multimedia environment to provide information to the trainees, including audio, video, maps, texts, email, graphics and text
- Developing a structured, timeline-based, sequence of events, crisis scenario model running in a computer-based simulation environment controlled by the trainer
- Providing real-time operational inputs demonstrating strategic decision outcomes to trainees, asking them to dynamically revise strategic plans and decisions
- Capturing trainee behaviour and emotional state, through the use of pre-event information capture, direct sensor inputs, self-reporting by trainees, and trainer inputs, and using affective media effects to induce changes to those behavioural and emotional states
- Providing a graphical virtual representation of the training environment to support on-line distributed training events
- Providing virtual characters, in any form from textual through to full animation, to engage in the event, including replacements for missing trainees, to ensure the full scenario enactment is supported in all training events
- Providing the trainer with a full control system for the training event, including the ability to change events, add new events, expand and compress timelines, provide direct interventions into the scenario, and increase or decrease the emotional stress applied to individual trainees
- Maintaining a detailed log of the training event, to permit rerun of some or all events, modelling of individual trainee performance, and capture of relevant and useful events as exemplars for future training
- Maintaining configurable scenario models, knowledge, multimedia asset and databases to enable the system to build a wide range of crisis scenarios, to use as training events for those involved in crisis management at all levels