Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization -- Department for Nonlinear Dynamics and Network Dynamics Group
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BFNT/BCCN Sonderseminar

Monday, 15.10.2012 11 s.t.

Rescue Robot Systems - From Snake Robot to Human Interface

by Prof. Dr. Fumitoshi Matsuno
from Department of Mechanical Engineering and Intelligent Systems, Kyoto University, Japan

Contact person: Florentin Wörgötter


Raum F2.125, Gebäude der Dritten Physik, Friedrich-Hund-Platz 1


Intelligent rescue systems with information and communications technologies (ICT) and robotics technology (RT) have been proposed to mitigate disaster damages, especially in Japan after the 1995 Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. In particular, it is has been stressed the importance of developing robots for search and rescue tasks, which can actually work in a real disaster site. In USA the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on New York City and Washington, DC, the hijacked plane crash in Pennsylvania, and the Anthrax attack that immediately followed instantly changed people attitude about safety and security in their personal lives. On May 12, 2008 the Great Sechuan Earthquake struck and more than 90000 people died. Moreover the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011 caused a complex disaster with seismic motion, a Tsunami, and an accident of the Fukushima nuclear power plant. These disasters have shown the importance of research on safety security and rescue robotics in a very emphatic way. Public safety and security problems are not limited to China, the United States and Japan since every country has experienced man-made and natural disasters in the past. Solutions will depend upon new, unconventional approaches to search and rescue robotics, information and communications technologies, devices and system integration can play an important role in providing technology that can contribute to safety, security and rescue activities. In this talk, I would like to explain my motivation to start the development of rescue robot systems for the disaster response and discuss necessary technologies that can accomplish search and rescue missions. I also explain overview of the “Japanese Special Project for Earthquake Disaster Mitigation in Urban Areas” (2002-2006) and “NEDO Rescue Robot Project for Information Collection in Damaged Buildings” (2006-2008). The rescue robots (snake-like robots, wheel type robots, and crawler type robots) for the information collection and a teleportation human interface developed in these projects are introduced. Moreover I would like to report our activities in the real disaster areas damaged by the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake. From March 18 to 20, 2011, we tried to apply our ground rescue robot to the real disaster sites at Aomori Prefecture and Iwate Prefecture. On March 18, we carried out inspection mission in a damaged gymnasium. From March 19 to 21, we tried to apply our system to other sites, and we found the potential needs for not only ground robots but also underwater robots. Then, after the first activity we established a joint United States-Japanese team for underwater search. From April 19 to 23, 2011 the joint team brought four ROVs to Miyagi Prefecture for port inspection and to Iwate Prefecture for searching for submerged bodies. The joint team returned to Miyagi Prefecture October 22 to 26 with an AUV and two ROVs for cooperative debris mapping needed to assist with resuming fishing. Based on these experiences, we discuss the effectiveness and problems of applying the rescue robot in the real disaster sites.

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