euronews, Anne Devineaux:
“This disaster scene is a simulation. We’re in Italy in a fire brigade training center. Today, robots are being tested by researchers. Their mission: to help the rescuers.”
After industrial accidents or natural disasters, the collection of information is crucial and robots can be precious allies to assist with this.
Ground robots and drones were developed within European research project TRADR. Remotely controlled, their mission is to search and explore the accident site. They can even create digital maps of the environment in three dimensions.
Droni e robot per mettere in sicurezza #Amatrice dopo il #terremoto. Il progetto #TRADR https://t.co/OZCHD2YBXA pic.twitter.com/a0KgAfw169— CheFuturo! (@chefuturo) September 11, 2016
Renaud Dubé, autonomous systems engineer, ETH Zurich:
“There is a laser sensor on the robots that measures the distance on a map, and in two dimensions. Rotating it makes it possible to make a truly three-dimensional map. Most of the time we use two to three robots, each of which is equipped with one of these sensors.The aim is to merge all the measurements together to have a global representation of the environment.”
The goal is to better assess the risks and protect the lives of the rescuers. Experts in robotics work directly with the final users, firefighters.
Emmanuele Gisi, fireman, Vigili del Fuoco:
“This collection of information is very useful to us. This is the first phase of our intervention and is the one that allows us, while arriving at night or in the rain, to schedule the intervention operation and to ensure the safety of operators.”
Robots can carry any sensor needed in a particular situation, such as exposure to gas or radioactivity. Some even have articulated arms to gather samples.
For researchers, the challenge is to optimise the interaction between machines and humans.