National Science Foundation Summer Field Institute for Rescue Robots for Research and Response (R4)
Fifteen scientists from six universities and five companies were embedded with a team of search and rescue professionals from the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Indiana Task Force 1 in August 2003 at a demolished building in Lebanon, Indiana. The highly realistic 27-hour exercise enabled participants to identify the prevailing issues in rescue robotics. Perception and situation awareness were deemed the most pressing problems, with a recommendation to focus on human-computer cooperative algorithms because recognition in dense rubble appears far beyond the capabilities of computer vision for the near term. Human-robot interaction was cited as another critical area as well as the general problem of how the robot can maintain communications with the rescuers. The field exercise was part of an ongoing grant from the National Science Foundation to the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue CRASAR), and CRASAR is sponsoring similar activities in summer 2004.
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