Despite good training, tactical concepts and protective equipment, thousands of emergency personnel are injured or killed in action across the world every year. Advances in technology mean that mobile robot systems can increasingly be used for tasks to ensure that operations can be tackled more safely. Over the next few years, the former Phoenix-West industrial site in Dortmund will be transformed into a centre of competence undertaking research and development activities on mobile robot systems for the civilian emergency services. One particular feature of the laboratory will be connected testing areas where systems’ operational fitness can be put to the test with the help of users.
The A-DRZ project to establish the German Rescue Robotics Centre aims to promote the use of robot systems by civilian, terrestrial emergency services in environments that are inhospitable to humans. This builds on the four key scenarios of fire, collapse & spillage, detection of hazardous substances, and flooding, and on the resulting challenges for rescue robotics. Three DFKI research areas are collaborating on the project: the Institute for Information Systems and the Multilingual Speech and Language Technology Lab alongside the EdTec Lab. The project is being headed by the city of Dortmund and involves 11 other partners from the theoretical and practical worlds as well as 18 associate partners.