Here are some disaster relief robots that could be used in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy:
Spy drones, military-style aerial surveillance robots, will be deployed by utility companies to help them assess where workers need to be fixing the lines and get the lights back on faster.
One specific drone developed by the researchers at Cornell is so advanced that it can be as smart as a bird when it comes to maneuvering around obstacles and is able to guide itself through forests, tunnels or damaged buildings.
Gemini-Scout can move through up to 18 inches of water while sampling the air for toxic fumes. It rolls easily over stair-like obstacles and into the sand and gravel pits, turning tight circles and kicking up a mess before climbing out just as easily. It takes 45-degree climbs with no serious problems, and at less than 2 feet tall it maneuvered through tight spaces with ease.
The compact explorer robot, Sakura, was specifically designed to inspect the damaged Fukushima nuclear reactor building. It’s skill set is big though.It has an infrared thermal camera which can detect trapped survivors in the rubble by their heat signature as well as looking for cracks, but as the camera can’t see everywhere, Sakura also has a directional microphone to detect the sound of water.
The CHARLI and the CHARLI II are designed primarily to help Navy Sailors fight fires. It can walk, keep upright, and pick itself up if it falls down. It also has incredibly delicate hands, capable of holding a light bulb.
In the meantime, developers across the globe are working on creating a disaster relief robot as described by DARPA’s disaster relief robot challenge. The wining robot will
1. Drive a utility vehicle at the site.
2. Travel dismounted across rubble.
3. Remove debris blocking an entryway.
4. Open a door and enter a building.
5. Climb an industrial ladder and traverse an industrial walkway.
6. Use a tool to break through a concrete panel.
7. Locate and close a valve near a leaking pipe.
8. Replace a component such as a cooling pump.