Welcome to the TEES Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue (CRASAR) at Texas A&M University

YouTube Preview Image

CRASAR is a Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station center whose mission is to improve disaster preparedness, prevention, response, and recovery through the development and adoption of robots and related technologies. Its goal is to create a “community of practice” throughout the world for rescue robots that motivates fundamental research, supports technology transfer, and educates students, response professionals, and the public. CRASAR is a dynamic mix of university researchers, industry, and responders.

CRASAR has participated in 25 of the over 50 documented deployments of disaster robots throughout the world and have formally analyzed dozens of others, providing a comprehensive archive of rescue robots in practice. See Disaster Robotics (MIT Press, 2014 in hardcopy or kindle) or the chapter on Rescue Robotics in the Springer Handbook of Robotics.  Our industry partners and funding agencies make a wide range of small land, sea, and air robots available for use by responders at no charge through the Roboticists Without Borders program. Our human-robot crew organization and protocols developed first for UGVs, where studies show a 9 times increase in team performance, and then extended for small UAVs during our flights at Hurricane Katrina has been adopted by Italian and German UAV response teams and was used by the Westinghouse team for the use of the Honeywell T-Hawk at the Fukushima nuclear accident.

CRASAR helps organize and sponsor conferences such as the annual IEEE Safety Security Rescue Robotics conference and workshops such as the recent White House OSTP Workshop on Robots for Ebola.

Resources Including Guides and Best Practices for Small UAVs at Disasters

A good overview of rescue robotics is in Disaster Robotics by Robin Murphy (MIT Press, Amazon, and Kindle)- Disaster Robotics is for both practitioners and researchers. It covers 34 deployments worldwide from 2001 through 2013, describes the missions, and next discusses the specific applications and lessons learned for ground (Chapter 3), aerial (Chapter 4), and marine (Chapter 5) vehicles, and then ends with recommendations on how to conduct deployments and field work (Chapter 6). Disaster Robotics won the 2014 PROSE honorable mention for best engineering and science writing.

Here are helpful 1 page guides and best practices for small unmanned aerial systems that have been incorporated into United Nations humanitarian standards and are continuing to evolve:

Click here for more information about CRASAR and its activities.

Donate online to CRASAR to support deployments of Roboticists Without Borders!

And a small disclaimer- this website is still under construction and out of compliance with Texas A&M University formats. Even the logo is off. We’re working on replacing it!

Recent News From Our Blog

Tropical Storm Cindy: Best Practices and Regulations for Agencies Using Small UAS

As Tropical Storm Cindy brings rain and flooding to the Gulf Coast, it’s a good time to share the two “one-pagers” that the Roboticists Without Borders small UAS team members have put together.  We have several flyers on stand-by with small UAS ready to deploy upon request.

Here are two one-pagers that may be of use to responders:

http://tinyurl.com/crasar-1page-SUAS-regs  is a one-page guide to who can fly for an agency and where they can fly (and how they can easily tell using airmap.io where they are allowed to fly). This is aimed for emergency managers who haven’t worked with SUAS before and have heard the FAA regulations are daunting- but the rules are much simpler and permissions can be gotten within 1-2 hours if needed.

http://tinyurl.com/crasar-1page-SUAS-floods is a one-page compendium of the missions that SUAS can be used for before, during, and after the flooding. It also discusses imagery post-processing and the other important considerations (coverage, manpower, software, data management). This is based on our experiences with flooding and storm surges since 2005 and especially reinforced by our recent deployments with Fort Bend County, Texas, and with Tangipahoa and Washington Parishes, Louisiana, last year. A preprint of our 2016 paper detailing the case studies of the Fort Bend County floods is here (IEEE SSRR 2016) and the official paper is here.

We hope for the best for everyone in the path of the storm.

More entries from our blog
Subscribe to our RSS Feed