Scientists involved in a special project to develop rescue robots for the Alps met last week, so that different teams could discuss, test, and integrate some parts of the robot. By January 2017, the researchers hope to have a team of robots capable of assisting human rescuers in an emergency, such as an avalanche.
Known as the Smart collaboration between Humans and ground-aErial Robots for imProving rescuing activities in Alpine environments (SHERPA), the European project involves researchers from seven universities, two companies, and one association. Each team has its own functionality to develop, but the teams will meet regularly to discuss integration.
Ultimately, the researchers hope to build bots capable of working with humans to locate casualties. While flying high in the alps, the UAVs will build a map of the terrain. The robots will be equipped with sensors so that the human will know where each robot is located.
The project includes small-scale UAVs with high maneuverability for capturing visual data from tricky positions, a ground rover for carting and charging the smaller bots, and fixed-wing and Rmax rotary-wing UAVs. A robotic arm with adjustable rigidity will also be developed, to grab the small-scale rotary wing robots from the air, and place them on the ground robot for charging.