CMU to Demonstrate New Search-and-Rescue Robots at RoboCup American Open


April 24, 2003

CMU researchers and colleagues will demonstrate teams of urban search-and-rescue robots in a "disaster arena" developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) during the RoboCup American Open robot soccer competition, April 30-May 4. Search-and-rescue demonstrations will take place hourly May 2 and 3 in Rangos Hall at the University Center on campus. The semi-autonomous, interactive, teleoperated robots will be put through their paces in a two-level site replete with dim lighting and lifelike mannequins that give off heat and carbon dioxide and utter cries of distress, so that the robots working with human rescuers can find them. The site contains rubble, mirrors, stairs and other obstacles to simulate the environments robots may encounter when searching for disaster victims.

Others demonstrating are Howard M. Choset, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and ECE, who has developed robots configured like snakes that are proficient at working their way into hard to reach places, the university Robotics Club and a team from the University of Utah. Although this is an exhibition, teams will be scored by NIST experts on their performance, based on navigational issues such as traversing stairways.

The goal of the RoboCup Search-and-Rescue League is to produce robots by 2050 that can autonomously negotiate compromised or collapsed structures, find victims and ascertain their condition, produce practical maps of their locations, deliver sustenance and communications, identify hazards and provide structural shoring.