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Putting Search and Rescue Robots Through Their Paces

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate, is sponsoring a workshop and a demonstration of urban search and rescue robots at the Montgomery County (Md.) Fire Rescue Training Academy in Rockville, Md., on Aug. 21, 2006.*

During the exercise, various types of sensor-laden robots, including small survey devices that can be thrown into a disaster site, unmanned systems that can cover rugged, uneven terrain, and small, rotary-winged aerial reconnaissance drones will attempt a number of activities, including detecting injured people and trace elements of radiation in simulated natural disaster or terrorist attack conditions.

The robot tests conclude a three-day workshop organized to give emergency responders an opportunity to deploy robots in realistic training scenarios and to help robot developers refine their designs, better understand robot and sensor performance requirements, and identify robots best suited for specific emergency situations. NIST will use the data collected during the exercise to develop standard test methods and usage guides. The outcomes of specific tests will not be published.

For more information on developing performance standards for urban search and rescue robots, visit

*Media planning to attend should call John Blair (301) 975-4261 by noon, Monday, Aug. 21, 2006.

Released August 17, 2006, Updated January 31, 2023