Trial by fire [rescue robots] Academic Article uri icon


  • Onsite search efforts from 12-21 September 2001 marked the first application of robots for urban search and rescue (USAR). Robots from the University of Florida were used to search for victims, paths through the rubble that would be quicker to excavate, structural inspection, and detection of hazardous materials. In each case, small robots were used because they could go deeper than traditional search equipment, could enter a void space too small for a human search dog, or could enter a place still on fire or posing great risk of structural collapse. All robots were teleoperated owing to the unexpected complexity of the environment, the limitations of the sensors, and user acceptance issues. Overall, data provided many lessons for the robotics community. These included the overall scenario for use of mobile robots, recommendations for a rescue robot system, and observations as to the practicality of fully autonomous rescue robots.

author list (cited authors)

  • Murphy, R. R.

citation count

  • 152

publication date

  • September 2004