Standard Test Methods For Response Robots

Abstract

Emergency responders literally risk life and limb interacting with known hazards to protect the public and rescue potential victims. They typically wear only conventional personal protective equipment while manually dealing with a variety of extreme hazards for which remotely operated robots should be well suited. Examples include disabling or dismantling improvised explosive devices (packages, personnel, and vehicles); establishing situational awareness during fires or police actions; assessing large-scale industrial or transportation accidents; investigating illicit border tunnels; or mitigating potential terrorist attacks involving chemical, biological, or radiological sources. Responders want to " start remote and stay remote " when dealing with such hazards and need capable robotic systems that can be remotely operated from safe standoff distances. Many responder organizations already own robots but have had difficulty deploying them effectively. New robots are promising advanced capabilities and more intuitive operator interfaces, but it is hard for responders to sift through the marketing. Responders need quantitative ways to measure whether any given robot is capable and reliable enough to perform specific missions. They also need to train with measures of operator proficiency to evaluate and improve very perishable operator skills and to identify deficiencies in equipment. Since 2001, a series of Presidential Policy Directives and Homeland Security Directives on National Preparedness have prompted increased funding for new and better technologies for emergency responders, including purchasing response robots. In 2005, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Science and Technology Directorate, Office of Standards, engaged in a multi-year partnership with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop a comprehensive suite of standard test methods to quantify key capabilities of robots for emergency response applications. A 2011 Presidential Policy Directive outlined the need for strengthening the security and resilience of the United States through systematic preparation for threats including acts of terrorism, pandemics, significant accidents, and catastrophic natural disasters. It emphasizes three national preparedness principles: 1) an all-hazards approach, 2) a focus on capabilities, and 3) outcomes with rigorous assessments to measure and track progress in building and sustaining capabilities over time. The following approach applies all three principles specifically for emergency response robots. NIST has been developing the measurements and standards infrastructure necessary to evaluate robotic capabilities for public safety emergency responders, military organizations, and other critical national needs. NIST leads an international collaboration that has generated more than 50 test methods for robotic ground systems, aquatic systems, and micro aerial systems …

Extracted Key Phrases

Test Methods For Response Robots ASTM International Standards Committee on Homeland Security Applications; Operational Equipment; Robots (E54.08.01)