Rescue Robot Helps Emergency Workers
Technology for exploring alien terrain works well on Earth, too.
CREDIT: progenoX GmbH
A new robotic vehicle might alleviate some of the dangers faced by those delivering emergency services to disaster victims. When sent out ahead of emergency workers, the robotic rescuer serves as a remote reconnaissance device, gathering sensory information about hazardous disaster scenes.
The device is the newest of several unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) from German startup progenoX, a company operating with the support of the European Space Agency(ESA) Technology Transfer Program.
The all-terrain bot can enter situations, such as chemical spills or large fires, that are especially dangerous for rescue workers.
According to the ESA's website, the UGV can head out in advance of rescue teams, which can then use the robot's environmental-monitoring systems to examine emergency situations from a safe distance. ProgenoX doesn't specify exactly what information the robot gathers, saying only that the data might be useful to firefighters, police offers and medical units.
ProgenoX says that the UGV is already heat-protected for use in firefighting, but the company may further outfit the robot with lightweight, heat-resistant materials developed for ESA's space missions. Previously, progenoX developed another heat-resistant robot, called GRISU, to use in firefighting or reconnaissance and exploration purposes. [See also: How 'Mantabot' Robot Fish Could Help Navy Missions]
Though the robotic rescuer has yet to see a real emergency, it has been tested at a police school in Germany. Further trials are expected to begin within the year.