The RoboCup Rescue Physical Agent League Competition was held in the summer of 2001 in conjunction with the AAAI Mobile Robot Competition Urban Search and Rescue event, eerily preceding the September 11 World Trade Center (WTC) disaster. Four teams responded to the WTC disaster through the auspices of the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue (CRASAR), directed by John Blitch. The four teams were Foster- Miller and iRobot (both robot manufacturers from the Boston area), the United States Navy's Space Warfare Center (SPAWAR) group from San Diego, and the University of South Florida (USF). Blitch, through his position as program manager for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Tactical Mobile Robots Program, was a supporter of the competition; he also served as a member of the rules committee and a judge. USF participated by chairing the rules committee, judging, assisting with the logistics, providing commentary, and demonstrating tethered and wireless robots whenever entrants had to skip around during the competition. Based on our experiences and history, we were asked to comment on the validity of the competition. The CRASAR collective experience suggests that most of the basic rules of the competition matched reality because the rules accurately reflected deployment scenarios, but the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Standard Test Course, and hardware or software approaches forwarded by competitors in last summer's event, missed the mark. This article briefly reviews the types of robots and missions used by CRASAR at the WTC site, then discusses the robotassisted search and rescue effort in terms of lessons for the competition.
Mar-14-2002, 18:00:00 GMT