The Intelligent Systems Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology is conducting an ongoing project, sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate and the National Institute of Justice, to produce a comprehensive set of standard test methods and associated performance metrics to quantify key capabilities of emergency response robots. These test methods address responder-defined requirements for robot mobility, manipulation, sensors, energy, communications, human-robot interfaces, logistics and safety for remotely operated ground vehicles, aquatic vehicles, and micro/mini aerial vehicles (under 2 kg/5 lbs) for urban environments. The goal is to facilitate emergency responder comparisons of different robot models based on statistically significant robot performance data captured within the standard test methods to help guide purchasing decisions and understand deployment capabilities. The test methods also support operator proficiency training and foster development and hardening of advanced mobile robot capabilities.
These response robot evaluation exercises for FEMA urban search and rescue teams; federal, state and local bomb squads; and police/SWAT teams to introduce emerging robotic capabilities to emergency responders within their own training facilities, while educating robot developers regarding the necessary performance requirements and operational constraints to be effective. Emerging standard test methods and usage guides for robot performance are under development within the ASTM International Committee on Homeland Security, Operational Equipment (E54.08.01). These events help refine the proposed standard test methods and fixtures/props that developers can use to practice critical capabilities and measure performance in ways that are relevant to emergency responders. These events are conducted in US&R training scenarios to help correlate the proposed standard test methods with envisioned deployment tasks and to lay the foundation for usage guides identifying a robot's applicability to particular response scenarios.
Task Force Participation