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Robots have become vital tools that first responders can use worldwide to assist victims of disaster. They help take civilian emergency responders out of harm’s way and augment their capabilities. On Nov. 14-18, robotics experts and emergency responders from across the globe are gathering at TEEX’s Disaster City in College Station to evaluate and test the latest generation of robots.

The emergency response robotic performance standards being evaluated include sensing, mobility, navigation, planning, integration, and operator control in order to ensure that the robots meet operational requirements under the extremely challenging conditions that rescuers frequently are faced with, including long endurance missions. Where appropriate, the standards will also address issues of robotic component interoperability.

Responders will help to validate emerging standard robot test methods, become familiar with available robot capabilities, and advise robot developers regarding operational requirements. Search and rescue response personnel participating include FEMA Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) teams; federal, state and local bomb squads; and police/SWAT teams.

The robotic standards effort focuses on fostering collaboration between first responders, robot manufacturers, other government agencies, and technology developers to advance consensus standards for task specific robot capabilities and interoperability of components. These standards will allow DHS to provide guidance to local, state, and federal homeland security entities regarding the purchase, deployment and use of robots for rescue applications.

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate has funded an effort with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop comprehensive standards related to the development, testing, and certification of effective technologies for search and rescue robotics.

Media Opportunity:

What: A variety of robots covering land, air and water are participating in the evaluation including large and small ground robots, small unmanned underwater vehicles (sUUV), and small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS). Robots will capture performance data within emerging standard test methods and then be deployed with responders to perform operational tasks in practice scenarios.

Where: Disaster City, College Station, Texas
Disaster City is 52 acres of simulated catastrophe, including rubble piles, collapsed buildings, train derailments and much more. It’s the largest and most comprehensive urban search and rescue training facility in the world and is part of TEEX’s Emergency Preparedness Campus.

This event is the seventh in a series of DHS/NIST response robot evaluation exercises and the fifth with Texas A&M Engineering and the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) Disaster Preparedness and Response at the TEEX Disaster City? facility.

Media note: Media attending the event must wear long pants and closed-toe shoes. A long-sleeve shirt is recommended. Other personal protective equipment will be provided for you.

Contact Information

Kathy Fraser

Director of Marketing and Communications

The class was one of the best taught classes I have ever been to in the 24 years I’ve been in law enforcement. The instructors were well versed in their craft. The clarity of instruction was like none I have ever seen before.

— Bloodstain Pattern Analysis
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