Using Mobile Robots as a Shared Visual Presence in USAR Environments

Jennifer L. Burke and Robin R. Murphy

This paper presents mobile rescue robots as a way of augmenting communication in distributed teams through a shared remote visual presence consisting of the robot’s eye view. Emergency/disaster management is a system composed of many (distributed) ad hoc teams; one of these is Urban Search and Rescue (USAR), itself a system organizationally structured as teams of teams. The use of mobile robots as a shared remote visual presence is presented specifically within the domain of USAR as a means of addressing the communication and coordination challenges posed for distributed team members onsite during an incident response, and also for others removed from the incident site. It is posited that the shared awareness (common ground) and mutual knowledge gained through the shared remote visual presence can enhance communication efficiency and coordination across teams, and improve team performance. Existing and potential applications in emergency management and response situations are discussed, along with an agenda for current and future research.


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