Disaster Recovery Turns to Robots

Jennifer Marsh
By
January 8, 2014
robots for disaster recovery

Disaster recovery is usually associated with calamities that strike important hardware and software. However, a much worse part of disasters is the people affected by nature’s calamities such as earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, otherwise known as Darpa, has a solution to first response systems, and it isn’t humans this time. Darpa has developed a powerful force of robots that are being tested to help people after natural disasters.

Darpa’s Robotic Gladiators

Before Darpa can put these robots into full commission, they need to test them. Like any type of recovery for disasters, the approach should be tested to assure that it’s best for the people involved including workers and victims.

The most interesting of these tests is the test that is designed to test the robot’s ability to reason through a situation. This is where artificial intelligence plays a part in future advances for victims and first responders to a situation. Robots can enter dangerous zones without fearing loss of emergency workers. However, if robots aren’t able to think through situations, they become useless.

Darpa’s tests including driving a vehicle, navigating over rough terrain, beating through walls, locate dangerous vehicles, remove debris and open locked entryways. The robots must be able to identify a dangerous situation and work through possibilities until it is capable of completing the task.

The advancement means better response time for emergency teams to help victims located in dangerous areas of disasters. One part of human loss during disasters is an emergency teams inability to gain access to the area. This issue is remedied with Darpa’s robotic gladiators.

The incredible advancement in artificial intelligence (AI) shows that robots not only help humans in dangerous situations, but these robots have the capability to learn how to reason through a situation that can be dangerous for the robot’s survival. If these robots pass the tests, it could mean millions of lives saved from AI technological advances.

If you want more interesting disaster-related info, check out our article on some of the strangest disasters you didn’t know about.

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