The global site of the UK's leading magazine for automation, motion engineering and power transmission
21 August, 2017

Product and Supplier Search

Facebook

Robots come to the rescue after WTC collapse

01 November, 2001

Robots come to the rescue after WTC collapse

Following the collapse of New York`s twin World Trade Centre towers in September, a team of small, mobile robots was drafted in to help rescuers search otherwise inaccessible spaces under the rubble. The shoebox-sized robots, developed at the Centre for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue and at the University of South Florida, arrived at the disaster zone a day after the terrorist attack which led to the collapse.

Over the following 11 days, the robots made several forays into the piles of rubble, using on-board sensors to look for body heat or coloured clothing. They were able to enter crevices that were too small or dangerous for human rescuers or dogs to enter. They helped to find five bodies.

The robots, each costing $10,000-40,000, were controlled via tethers that gave them an operating range of more than 30m.

US researchers started to develop search-and-rescue robots following the Oklahoma City bombing. One technology they are working on uses a "mother" robot which carries smaller devices as far as she can into a collapsed building before releasing them to examine smaller crevices.

They are also hoping to develop tether-free systems with enough on-board intelligence to guide themselves through collapsed buildings and other awkward terrains. Dr Robin Murphy, a computer scientist from South Florida University, is developing algorithms that would allow the robots to distinguish colours and shapes to identify victims more easily.




Magazine
  • To view a digital copy of the latest issue of Drives & Controls, click here.

    To visit the digital library of past issues, click here

    To subscribe to the magazine, click here

    To see the latest Products & Services Directory, click here

     

Exhibition

Birmingham 2018The next Drives & Controls Exhibition and Conference will take place in Birmingham, UK, from 10-12 April, 2018. For more information on the event, visit the Show Web site

Poll

"Do you think that robots create or destroy jobs?"

Newsletter
Newsletter

Events

Most Read Articles