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Trial by fire [rescue robots]

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1 Author(s)
R. R. Murphy ; CRASAR, South Florida Univ., Tampa, FL, USA

On September 11, 2001, the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue (CRASAR) responded within six hours to the World Trade Center (WTC) disaster; this is the first known use of robots for urban search and rescue (USAR). The University of South Florida (USF) was one of the four robot teams, and the only academic institution represented. The USF team participated onsite in the search efforts from 12-21 September 2001, collecting and archiving data on the use of all robots, in addition to actively fielding robots. This article provides an overview of the use of robots for USAR, concentrating on what robots were actually used and why. It describes the roles that the robots played in the response and the impact of the physical environment on the platforms. The quantitative and qualitative performance of the robots are summarized in terms of their components (mobility, sensors, control, communications, and power) and within the larger human-robot system. Lessons learned are offered and a synopsis of the current state of rescue robotics and activities at the CRASAR concludes the article.

Published in:

IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine  (Volume:11 ,  Issue: 3 )