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Robot-Assisted Urban Search and Rescue from 9/11 to Now: Where

About this event

Lecturer: Dr. Robin Murphy, University of South Florida

On September 11, 2001, the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue responded within six hours to the WTC disaster; this is the first known use of robots for USAR. The University of South Florida was one of the four robot teams, and the only academic institution. The USF team participated on-site in the search efforts from September 12 through 22, collecting and archiving data on the use of robots. Prior to 9/11, USF had conducted NSF funded research in rescue robots focusing on technical search. In the year following 9/11, that research has accelerated and expanded to cover the other aspects of emergency functions: medical care of trapped victims and extrication.

This talk will provide an overview of the use of robots for USAR as well as discuss what IT techniques were available at the WTC response, what was actually used, and why. It will also summarize the key lessons learned from the robotics efforts at the WTC. The lessons learned cover the areas of mobility, perceptibility, usability, and connectivity, and includes an analysis of the operator errors and failure rates. Possibly the most pervasive lesson learned is that robots for USAR must be considered from an "information technology" perspective, where platforms, sensors, control schemes, networks, interfaces, and social informatics must all be co-evolved to ensure the information extracted by the robots is truly usable by the rescue community. Extensive video footage of the site and "robot's eye" views will be shown.

About the Speaker:
Robin is a popular and effective speaker, having given invited talks and keynote addresses at 6 major conferences and workshops in the past year, and a highly successful author. Her robotics research, supported by several agencies, had made news at NSF and elsewhere even before making headlines for contributions to the response to 9/11.

Robin Roberson Murphy received a BME in mechanical engineering, a MS and PhD in computer science, all from Georgia Tech, where she was a Rockwell International Doctoral Fellow. Since 1998, she has been an associate professor in the Computer Science and Engineering Department at the University of South Florida with a joint appointment in Cognitive and Neural Sciences in the Department of Psychology. She is Director of the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue at USF and recipient of an NIUSR Eagle Award for her participation at the World Trade Center. Dr. Murphy's textbook, Introduction to AI Robotics, is the number one selling mobile robotics textbook.