Robots to search for survivors after Japan’s quake
Dr. Robin Murphy, director of the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue (CRASAR) at Texas A&M University, informed that a team headed by Satoshi Tadokoro from Tohoku University and another team led by Eiji Koyanagi from Chiba Institute of Technology's Future Robotics Technology Center have deployed, or are about to deploy their robots for the rescue missions.
The team led by Dr. Tadokoro is going to help the rescue operations at Sendai. He will be using an Active Scope Camera. It’s an 8 meter long snake type robot that bears a scope camera.
The advantage of this robot is that it’s operated via remote and can move through very small places. According to Dr. Murphy, it's "possibly the most capable robot for tight spaces."
While the other team led by Dr. Koyanagi, will be deploying a robot called Quince, at Tokyo. It’s a swift robot with tank-like tracks. Quince is designed to drive over debris and for climbing stairs.
Sadly, when the earthquake hit Japan, Dr. Tadakoro, head of International Rescue Systems Institute, and his team was in USA.
Several other robots
Dr. Murphy suggested that besides these two robots, many other robots could be used for saving human lives. She recommended the following robots:
•Small unmanned aerial vehicles like robotic helicopters and quadrotors for the inspection of upper levels of buildings and lower altitude checks.
•Small underwater ROVs for bridge inspection and underwater recovery.
•Tether-based unmanned ground vehicles like sensor-packed wheeled robots, which operators can drive remotely to search for survivors.
Dr. Murphy, leader of Roboticists Without Borders group also said that she was waiting for an official request from the Japanese government, for her assistance in rescue operations.
Her group is a part of CRASAR and thus, they have a huge resource of rescue robots such as AirRobot, iSensys helicopters, VideoRay ROV, AEOS water vehicle, VGTV etc.