Authors: C. Kong, A. Ferworn, J. Tran, E. Coleshill, and K. G. Derpanis
The collapse of buildings and other structures in heavily populated areas often result in human victims becoming trapped within the resulting rubble. This rubble is often unstable, difficult to traverse and dangerous for emergency first responders tasked with finding, stabilizing and extricating entombed or hidden victims through access holes in the rubble. Recent work in scene mapping and reconstruction using photometric colour and metric depth (RGB-D) data collected by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) suggest the possibility of automatically identifying potential access holes into the interior of rubble. This capability would greatly improve search operation by directing limited human search capacity to areas where access holes might exist. This paper presents a novel approach to automatically identify access holes in rubble. The investigation begins with defining an access hole in terms that allow their algorithmic identification as potential means of accessing the interior of rubble. This definition captures functional and photometric attributes of holes. From this definition, a set of hole-related features for detection is presented. Experiments were conducted using RGB-D data collected over a real-world disaster training facility using a UAV. Empirical evaluation suggests the efficacy of the proposed approach for successfully identifying potential access holes in disaster rubble scenes.
Citation: C. Kong, A. Ferworn, J. Tran, E. Coleshill, and K. G. Derpanis, “What is a Hole? Discovering Access Holes in Disaster Rubble with Functional and Photometric Attributes,” In Journal of Field Robotics (April, 2015)