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Advances in Artificial Intelligence
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 340615, 16 pages
Research Article

Crowd Evacuation for Indoor Public Spaces Using Coulomb’s Law

1Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901, USA
2Department of Computer Science, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901, USA

Received 26 March 2012; Revised 11 June 2012; Accepted 2 July 2012

Academic Editor: Thomas Mandl

Copyright © 2012 Pejman Kamkarian and Henry Hexmoor. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper focuses on designing a tool for guiding a group of people out of a public building when they are faced with dangerous situations that require immediate evacuation. Despite architectural attempts to produce safe floor plans and exit door placements, people will still commit to fatal route decisions. Since they have access to global views, we believe supervisory people in the control room can use our simulation tools to determine the best courses of action for people. Accordingly, supervisors can guide people to safety. In this paper, we combine Coulomb’s electrical law, graph theory, and convex and centroid concepts to demonstrate a computer-generated evacuation scenario that divides the environment into different safe boundaries around the locations of each exit door in order to guide people through exit doors safely and in the most expedient time frame. Our mechanism continually updates the safe boundaries at each moment based on the latest location of individuals who are present inside the environment. Guiding people toward exit doors depends on the momentary situations in the environment, which in turn rely on the specifications of each exit door. Our mechanism rapidly adapts to changes in the environment in terms of moving agents and changes in the environmental layout that might be caused by explosions or falling walls.