Robotic FX, Inc., a robotics research and development firm that designs and manufactures The Negotiator Tactical Surveillance Robot, was invited to attend the exercise by event host NIST (The National Institute of Standards & Technology) and program committee members, ARACAR (The Alliance of Robot Assisted Crisis Assessment & Response – http://www.aracar.org). The association’s team members, with minimal exposure to the Negotiator robot, soon became competent operators, highlighting the robot’s easy of use, functionality and simplicity of design.
As a part of the IEEE International Workshop on Safety, Security & Rescue Robotics in Gaithersburg MA, the robot evaluation exercise, had been specifically designed for FEMA US&R (Federal Emergency Management Agencies Urban Search & Rescue) teams to provide collaborative opportunities for experimentation with state of the art technologies. The exercise also allowed US&R personnel to practice with and provide insight on performance requirements and objectives for robotic applications during search & rescue initiatives.
Displaying operationally relevant urban search & rescue scenarios, the evaluation consisted of a variety of strenuous performance standard exercises designed to test the capabilities of various robotic platforms.
Specific applications that were tested during the exercises, which highlighted the Negotiator robot’s vast capabilities included; locomotion for collapsed structures, perception for navigation, hazard detection, manipulation capabilities (hazards, payloads, obstacles etc), communication and visual acuity, human – robot interfaces, emergency technologies (sensors, power sources etc.) deployment logistics and operational integration.
Equipped with its Internal IR (Infrared) Camera system, Pan/Tilt Day-Night Camera system and Rear Mount, Fixed Day-Night Camera system, the Negotiator robot scored highly across a number of different visual and directory evaluation exercises. The combination of these cameras enabled visibility in extreme lowlight conditions, direct rear vision, and high-resolution 360-degree pan and 90-degree tilt viewing for fast and easy inspection of all surrounding areas. These applications enabled the operator to specifically direct the cameras to view difficult areas indicative of US&R scenarios (e.g. “hard to read” container warning information).
The Negotiator robot also performed highly on two challenging exercises, which tested speed, durability and maneuverability. Both exercises were designed to replicate exceptionally difficult terrain whereby sequences of loose, varied steps in confined spaces made mobility and traction extremely difficult. The robot’s track extensions enabled effective and timely mobility throughout these courses, while the progressive joystick allowed the operator to control and vary the speed and direction of the robot proportionately to joystick position.
Equipped with Hazmat sensor payloads, including radiation, chemical and gas detection systems, the Negotiator robot was one of the few robots that had the capability to detect potentially dangerous substances. In urban search & rescue scenarios, hazardous material detection is extremely important and the Negotiator’s fully integrated Hazmat package only heightens its response capabilities and rescue preparedness.
The “auto-alert” feature, which automatically warns the operator of the presence of potentially dangerous substances, also scored highly among facilitators and US&R personnel.
In addition, the Negotiator robot was commended for its stair/ramp climbing speed, maneuverability over various obstacles as well as its durability and navigation through rough terrain such as a collapsed building infrastructure, tall grass and angle dexterity. The demonstration of the Negotiator robot’s extensive capabilities over a variety of evaluations impressed event organizers and US&R representatives, which led to The Negotiator Tactical Surveillance Robot being recognized as one of the top performing robots throughout the course of the evaluation.
While many robots on the market are designed for specific applications, The Negotiator Tactical Surveillance Robot has been designed to meet the differing needs of a variety of agencies and applications. While a number of suggested packages for different agencies and missions are offered, the “open-system” architectural design of the Negotiator robot allows the user to select from a variety of accessories and applications, in order to best suit their needs. This versatility of design and performance was more than evident through the course of the evaluation and is the primary reason the Negotiator performed so well.
“Taking part in this exercise and seeing the Negotiator perform so well across a variety of evaluations was a truly a worthwhile exercise,” said Jameel Ahed, President and founder of Robotic FX, Inc. “We initially set out to create a product that would be practical and valuable to a variety of agencies and that would ultimately help first responders perform their difficult and dangerous jobs. It’s certainly inspiring to know that the Negotiator Robot has been able to accomplish this.”
The Negotiator Tactical Surveillance Robot is currently used by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and has had proven success with search & rescue operations, SWAT teams, HAZMAT teams and Homeland Defense. For more information, please visit our website at http://www.roboticfx.com.
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NOTE: The above references do not necessarily constitute nor imply an official endorsement or recommendation by NIST, or other organizing bodies / sponsors for this event. This information is based on feedback, performance, rakings, and actual events during the evaluation exercise and is using information that is currently made available.
NOTE TO MEDIA:
Images and video footage of the Negotiator Tactical Surveillance Robot and various applications are available upon request.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
ROBOTIC FX, INC.
7441 Southwest Hwy
Worth, IL 60482
Tel: (708) 448-4264
Fax: (708) 448-4456
“Helping first responders make informed decisions from a safe distance!”