When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.
Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.
Search and Rescue (SAR) systems are vital to provide the quick response for saving lives in the first moments of natural and man-made calamities. In this dissertation, we present and discuss factors related to SAR operations planning and develop three SAR mathematical problems. In the first part we present an overview of SAR operations, highlighting questions affecting aerial search and rescue operations since it is the main object of our Thesis. In the second part, we consider an aerial fleet planning as a resource allocation problem and propose variations in the objective function of a binary integer programming (BIP) model according to different priorities related to area, time and type of the searching operation in high seas. We then study the problem for planning rescue missions in oceanic areas, modelled as a vehicle routing problem considering a heterogeneous fleet of vehicles and respective displacements during the operation. A BIP model is proposed and routing choices are assisted by probabilistic demands at each location that, when visited, may update previous decisions. In the fifth part, we consider the problem for planning a long-range mass rescue operation, modelled as an aircraft routing problem with pick-up and delivering, weight and endurance limits. A BIP model is proposed to minimize the flying time and feasible routes depend on factors such as aircraft endurance, fuel consumption rate, payload, take-off and landing weights, local demand and airfield capacities to operate different types of aircraft. The dissertation ends with conclusions and identified issues for future research.