View-Finder Project


  In the event of an emergency due to a fire or other crisis, a necessary but time consuming pre-requisite, that could delay the real rescue operation, is to establish whether the ground can be entered safely by human emergency workers. The objective of the VIEW-FINDER project is to develop robots which have the primary task of gathering data. The robots are equipped with sensors that detect the presence of chemicals and, in parallel, image data is collected and forwarded to an advanced base station. The robots will be equipped with a wide array of chemical sensors, on-board TV/IR cameras, LADAR and other sensors to enhance scene understanding and reconstruction. At the base station the data is processed and combined with geographical information originating from a web of sources; thus providing the personnel leading the operation with in-situ processed data that can improve decision making. The information may also be forwarded to other forces involved in the operation (e.g. fire fighters, rescue workers, police, etc.). Beside the task specific sensors above, conventional sensors will be used to support navigation. The robots will be designed to navigate individually or cooperatively and to follow high-level instructions from the base station. The robots are off-the-shelf units, consisting of wheeled robots for the common fire ground and robotic caterpillars for specialised situations. The robots connect wirelessly to the base station and to each other; using a wireless selforganising network of mobile communication nodes (that is made up of other robots acting as communication routers and bridges) which adapts to the terrain. The robots are intended as the first explorers of the area, as well as in-situ supporters to act as safeguards to human personnel. The base station collects in-situ data and combines it with information retrieved from the large-scale GMES-information bases. It will be equipped with a sophisticated human interface to display the processed information to the human operators and operation command. The project aims to provide a proof-of-concept solutions, to be evaluated by a board of expert end-users that can verify that operational needs are addressed. Project workshops will be organised with the aim of further disseminating, and exploitating all results.

Summary of objectives:
1. Inspection of fire or crisis grounds and chemicals and toxin detection 2. Map building and scene reconstruction 3. Interfacing and fusing local command information and external information sources 4. Human Interface, integrating information search and robot control 5. Autonomous robot navigation and multi robot cooperation 6. Human-Robot cooperation and interaction.

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