Robotic material transport in disaster scenarios

The aim of the project is to design and develop a partially automated, mobile assistance robot to support material transport through impassable terrain. The main areas of application are rescue operations in disaster scenarios, such as collapsed buildings, operations in impassable terrain, train or traffic accidents, and other major emergencies. The system to be developed should be able to follow a person through difficult terrain (gravel, obstacles, slopes), transport material needed for the rescue operation and react to the user's gestures, as well as provide feedback.

Duration: 01.09.2021 till 31.08.2025
Donee: German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence GmbH
Sponsor: Federal Agency for Technical Relief
Application Field: SAR- & Security Robotics
Related Robots: ARTEMIS
DLR SpaceBot Cup 2013 Rover

Project details

Asguard IV with star wheels at the THW test site (Photo: Florian Cordes, DFKI)
Section of the THW training centre in Hoya (Photo: THW)
Artemis Rover at the THW test site (Photo: Malte Wirkus, DFKI)
The practical suitability of a mobile assistance robot is to be evaluated in a realistic application scenario. In this project, the assistance robot will be developed, built and equipped with corresponding control algorithms by the DFKI. For the evaluation, several consecutive field tests are planned at the THW training site in Hoya (see Figure 2), followed by evaluation and adaptation phases. Special emphasis will be placed on the robustness of the developed solutions. To this end, the field tests will be carried out with the involvement of experienced THW emergency personnel. The success of the project will be measured by the system's ability to maneuver at the THW test site in Hoya. There will be very close cooperation with THW personnel in the course of the developments.

In the future, the system will be used to support civil protection forces during operations in rubble and impassable terrain. The basic scenario is a rescue operation after a building collapse, for example after a gas explosion. This means for the arriving forces that, on the one hand, a good order of the area must be established (where are which vehicles brought into position) and, on the other hand, a situation assessment must be carried out quickly (What is the situation? What dangers are there? What measures are required? What equipment is required?). Afterwards, possibly buried persons have to be located. If there is a suspicion of buried persons, the rescue of people has top priority. The necessary materials and equipment are currently being brought by hand to the scene on the debris cone. The equipment required also includes heavy items such as hydraulic rescue equipment, which can weigh more than 25 kilograms. These materials are to be moved safely through the area of operation by the robot system developed here.

The findings from the scenario described above can also be transferred to other areas of non-police emergency response. For example, a robotic transport system can also be supportive in the field of mountain rescue, where extensive equipment also regularly has to be transported through impassable terrain. And the approach is also interesting for the mine rescue service, since here, too, impassable terrain, heavy equipment and strenuous activities (working under breathing protection) are part of the regular conditions.


Roboter Artemis auf dem THW-Testgelände in Hoya

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last updated 21.08.2023
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