In Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) operations the search for survivors must occur before rescue operations can proceed. Two methods that can be used to search in rubble are trained search dogs and specialized response robots (sometimes called rescue robots). Rescue robots are used to collect information about trapped people within a disaster like a collapsed building. Information from them can help first responders plan and execute a rescue effort. The main challenge for these robots is the restrictions placed on their mobility by challenging rubble surfaces. While current research in this area attacks this challenge through mechanical design, good solutions remain elusive. We propose a new method for dispersing response robots called Canine Assisted Robot Deployment (CARD). CARD’s different approach that utilizes USAR dogs to deliver robots close to a trapped human detected by the dog. This method exploits the canine ability to find survivors using their olfactory sensors and agility. Once a dog carrying a small robot has found a casualty, the robot can be dropped and begin exploring. Initial experiments and results are described in our paper “Canine Assisted Robot Deployment for Urban Search and Rescue.” Further info about the paper, including an electronic copy can be found in our Publication section.
Drop and EXplore — Dex
Drop and EXplore (DEX) is a small rescue robot designed to be used in Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) operations. DEX was used in a series of experiments designed to validate CARD as a viable method for USAR search operations. Unlike other rescue robots, DEX was designed to be used in tandem with trained USAR canines. DEX, the first robot in a new robot class called – Canine-Delivered Marsupial Robot (CDMR). We define CDMRs as robots that are designed to be deployed from search dogs.