CrowdEst: A Method for Estimating (and not Simulating) Crowd Evacuation Parameters in Generic Environments

09/30/2020 ∙ by Estevso Testa, et al. ∙ 0

Evacuation plans have been historically used as a safety measure for the construction of buildings. The existing crowd simulators require fully-modeled 3D environments and enough time to prepare and simulate scenarios, where the distribution and behavior of the crowd needs to be controlled. In addition, its population, routes or even doors and passages may change, so the 3D model and configurations have to be updated accordingly. This is a time-consuming task that commonly has to be addressed within the crowd simulators. With that in mind, we present a novel approach to estimate the resulting data of a given evacuation scenario without actually simulating it. For such, we divide the environment into smaller modular rooms with different configurations, in a divide-and-conquer fashion. Next, we train an artificial neural network to estimate all required data regarding the evacuation of a single room. After collecting the estimated data from each room, we develop a heuristic capable of aggregating per-room information so the full environment can be properly evaluated. Our method presents an average error of 5 evacuation time in a real-life environment. Our crowd estimator approach has several advantages, such as not requiring to model the 3D environment, nor learning how to use and configure a crowd simulator, which means any user can easily use it. Furthermore, the computational time to estimate evacuation data (inference time) is virtually zero, which is much better even when compared to the best-case scenario in a real-time crowd simulator.

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