Effective disaster communication: Fraunhofer HHI manager appointed new chair of working group on “AI for Effective Communications”

October 18, 2021

Dr. Ivanka Pelivan from Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI) was named as the new chair of the working group on “AI for Effective Communications” (WG-Communications). The group is part of the ITU /WMO /UNEP  focus group on “AI for Natural Disaster Management” (FG-AI4NDM). FG-AI4NDM is developing a community of engaged stakeholders and experts utilizing AI to enhance the understanding of natural disasters and support disaster relief. The group is chaired by Dr. Monique Kuglitsch from Fraunhofer HHI. Dr. Pelivan was appointed during the third virtual workshop and meeting of FG-AI4NDM that took place from August 30 to September 2, 2021. She shares the role with her Co-Chair Thomas Ward from IBM, United States.

WG-Communications is one of three working groups in FG-AI4NDM. The working groups cover broad and important areas like data and modeling whereas topic groups work on specific subjects such as wildfires or multi-hazard communications technologies.

WG-Communications focuses on the standardization of AI-based communications systems. Communication is one of the most important tasks before, during, and immediately after a natural disaster. State-of-the-art data analysis is already able to predict most natural disasters very accurately. However, too often these predictions do not reach people fast enough or at all. One of the latest examples where this occurred is the flood catastrophe in West Germany where communication between the different monitoring institutions, government, and the public failed in some areas.

The working group examines and assesses different communications systems that use AI like early warning systems or decision support systems. The team’s daily work is surveying scientific literature and reviewing the relevant technologies presented at FG-AI4NDM workshops. Furthermore, they collaborate closely with the topic group “AI for Multihazard Communications Technologies”. Together they explore the breadth and development of AI-based communications systems, the inclusion of stakeholders, the role of ethical considerations, and the implementation of such technologies. Throughout all activities, the working group aims to take a social perspective to evaluate the benefits of any technology relative to traditional (non AI-based) technologies.

Dr. Ivanka Pelivan works as science manager for the division “Communication & Information” at Fraunhofer HHI. She has more than ten years experience in project coordination and management at different institutes and has worked as a researcher for over 15 years in various fields of aerospace. As ROLIS (Rosetta Lander Imaging System) operations engineer at DLR (German Aerospace Center) she commanded a camera that is the basis of the FireWatch camera technology used in early wildfire smoke detection worldwide. She oversaw the initial phase of introducing machine learning into the smoke detection software.

Visit FG-AI4NDM  to learn more about the focus group, to get involved, or to have your research and activities included. The next focus group meeting will be held on October 20, 2021.