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Urban Search and Rescue Robot Performance Standards: Progress Update



Adam S. Jacoff, Elena R. Messina


In this paper, we describe work in performance standards for urban search and rescue (US&R) robots, begun in 2004 by the Department of Homeland Security. This program is being coordinated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and will result in consensus standards developed through ASTM International, under the Operational Equipment Subcommittee of their Homeland Security Committee. A comprehensive approach to performance requirements and standards development is being used in this project. Formal test methods designed by several working groups in the standards task group are validated by the stakeholders. These tests are complemented by regular exercises in which responders and robot manufacturers work together to apply robots within realistic training scenarios. This paper recaps the most recent exercise, held at the Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) Maryland Task Force 1 training facility, at which over twenty different robots were operated by responders from various FEMA Task Forces. The exercise included candidate standard test methods being developed for requirements in the areas of communications, mobility, sensors, and human-system interaction for US&R robots. Related work in developing performance standards for bomb-disposal robots is also discussed.
SPIE Defense and Security Conference


homeland security, performance metrics, performance standards, response robots, robots, urban search and rescue


Jacoff, A. and Messina, E. (2007), Urban Search and Rescue Robot Performance Standards: Progress Update, SPIE Defense and Security Conference, [online], (Accessed May 21, 2024)


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Created June 15, 2007, Updated February 19, 2017