Robotics in emergency assistance

Service robots for professional use are incredibly diverse as they are usually designed to perform a specific task. You can find them in hospitals or public buildings for delivering goods performing tasks in hazardous environments. The main factor for investment in such systems is cost-benefit considerations from an end-user perspective. There is significant potential to increase the cost, availability, and quality of service for tasks performed by robots and create a professional and safe workplace.

While service robots are as varied as their applications, we can distinguish three modalities of service robots designs:

  • Modifying industrial robots' components for application beyond the production environment.
  • Integrators of industrial robotic systems increasingly seek it in search of new markets.
  • Examples include automated warehousing and medical robots.

Using advanced robotic technologies to upgrade high-performance systems of existing production lines with automation functions. This product philosophy can often be found in service robots for professional use such as cleaning, inspection, etc.

New designs of robots "from scratch," without past instances, using robotic technologies and components (navigation, perception of the environment, etc.). Examples: space robots, window cleaners, security robots. This article describes typical applications for firefighting and rescuer robots and provides additional information on their use and level of technological maturity. In the context of the group's statistical scheme, fire, bombing, surveillance, and (civil) security are all civilian robot applications.

Many of these robots are remote-controlled or semi-autonomous, so it is worth considering both real robots and robotic devices that have a limited level of autonomy. A scheme for classifying rescue and security robots by types of disasters was proposed by Murphy and included meteorological, geological, anthropogenic (terrorist), and mining.

Disaster management robots can consist of a mobile device with a control arm. Although robots can perform tasks independently, the operator can always intervene via remote control. An example of such a robot is TrackReitar UGV for business, "the easiest robot to operate." Using a joystick-based remote control similar to game controllers allows the operator to quickly become familiar with the system.

The platforms offered are used in all application areas, such as surveillance/security (TrackReitar Inspector 3D) or demining (TrackReitar MineHunter). Attempts are underway to add full autonomy to robots based on extensive sensor information and rescue strategies.

All ground, air, and marine robots have been controlled remotely but not entirely autonomously generally. A significant reason for that is that robots allow respondents to watch and act in real-time, and there is always something that they need to see or do immediately. The biggest technical obstacle is human-robot interaction, but the human factor is also an influential cause of failure.

Typically, robots are not used directly after a disaster. On average, 6.5 days pass before the robot is sent to the disaster area; either the agency has a robot, and they use it for 0.5 days, or they don't, and it takes 7.5 days for them to understand that the robot will be helpful and get it to the site. A very active research community in search and rescue robotics promotes current progress through collaborative research and numerous competitions. The Leotronics team is working to ensure that robots enter our daily lives and can be deployed within a matter of hours if necessary.