Use of Remotely Operated Marine Vehicles at Minamisanriku and Rikuzentakata Japan for Disaster Recovery Conference Paper uri icon


  • Three underwater remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) were used over a five day period to inspect critical infrastructure and to assist with victim search and recovery at six sites in the Iwate Prefecture following the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. Unmanned marine vehicles have been used since 2004 for disaster recovery operations but in limited applications, in single areas, and in short deployment durations. The joint IRS-CRASAR deployment matched robots for missions specified by civilian municipalities and the Japanese Coast Guard. The ROVs successfully allowed a fishing port to be re-opened and searched for victims trapped underwater in five different locations in varying areas (marinas, bridge debris, and waterfront residential areas) that could not be searched by manual divers. From a scientific perspective, the deployment provides a corpus of 15 hours of data of how rescue robots can be used. It illustrates that rescue robots are i) valuable for both economic and victim recovery, not just response, ii) that disaster robots need to be optimized for the unique missions and stakeholder needs, and iii) that human-robot interaction remains a challenge. This paper also identifies new areas for research: computer vision and cognitive engineering, cyber-physical systems, heterogeneous multi-robot coordination, human-robot interaction, simulation and geographical information systems. © 2011 IEEE.

author list (cited authors)

  • Murphy, R. R., Dreger, K. L., Newsome, S., Rodocker, J., Steimle, E., Kimura, T., ... Kon, K.

citation count

  • 36

publication date

  • November 2011