Accession Number:



Development of an Urban Search and Rescue Robot

Descriptive Note:

Trident Scholar Project rept. no. 311

Corporate Author:


Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



The September 11th, 2001 bombing of the World Trade Centers in New York illustrated the many problems associated with rescuing the survivors of a collapsed building. The fact that those trapped beneath the rubble have low probability of survival after forty-eight hours, combined with the massive amount of debris that needs to be searched, make the urban search and-rescue mission extremely daunting. The solution to such a complicated problem lies in creating robots capable of quickly exploring a collapsed building and pinpointing the location of any survivors. The goal of this Trident Scholar project was to build an urban search-and-rescue robot. The primary goal was to develop a physical structure that would be unique and versatile enough to traverse a variety of terrain challenges. A designs effectiveness was judged on its ability to overcome the set of selected terrain types. The secondary goal was to produce a simulation that could be used to develop pre-programmed inputs a fly-by-wire style controller. This entailed creating an accurate model of the robot and its environment using a physics simulator. Using the simulation, various methods, including genetic algorithms, could be used to develop locomotive methods, or gaits, for various types of motion e.g., straight lines or parameterized curves. The movements could then be translated to the physical prototype and their effectiveness the ability to move as predicted analyzed. The end result of this project would be a robot with versatile mobility and a set of simulation tools. In the future, these simulation tools could be used to design and tune gaits for effective locomotion in a variety of terrain, with very little operator effort.

Subject Categories:

  • Cybernetics
  • Escape, Rescue and Survival

Distribution Statement: