Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami 2011

Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: April 18 to 24, 2011 October 18 to 28, 2011

CRASAR team working with partners from the International Rescue System Institute in Japan prepared ground, aerial, and marine robots for immediate deployment at the request of Miyagi and Iwate prefectures, but the situation with the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant prevented travel until April, at which point the biggest need was for marine vehicles to help the 400 miles of devasted coastline recover from the disaster. The team of industry experts and scientists went beyond providing technology, they learned more about the real challenges of using the robots in 14 days than they could in years in the lab. Through participatory research, the team learned by doing what the performance of the robots, the fidelity of the imagery, and the types of decisions that the sensor data collected by the robots is used for.such as cognitive overloading and barriers in gathering reliable, understandable data. The team collected a corpus of data of the real scientific challenges are in disaster robotics: how artificial intelligence and human-robot interaction research can contribute to overcoming these problems. The project surveyed over 10,000 m2 of submerged areas in less than 16 hours in the water, finding over 100 major objects to be removed, and produced both scientific findings and societal benefits. The project identified issues for the artificial intelligence (AI), human-robot interaction, geospatial information systems (GIS), and cyber-physical systems (CPS) communities. The broader impact of the project was the immediate benefit to society. The deployments accelerated economic recovery efforts in Japan by enabling the major fishing port in Minamisanriku, the second largest fishing region in Japan, to reopen months earlier than expected- in time for the salmon fishing season. In the October 2011 deployment, the unmanned marine vehicles found submerged fishing boats leaking diesel fuel into the pristine fishing waters in areas searched and cleared by manual divers. The deployments also helped the Japanese Coast Guard search for missing victims in the floating islands of debris and shallow bays where divers cannot work without high risk. Although no bodies were recovered, the townships of Minamisanriku and Rikuzentakata were able to move closer to closure knowing that the nearly 10,000 missing loved ones were not just meters away in the water but probably swept off the continental shelf. A full project report is at www.research.gov.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under NSF Grant CNS-1135848, “RAPID: Sendai Earthquake and Tsunami- Remote Assessment Using Land, Sea and Aerial Unmanned Systems” using equipment from the RESPOND-R mobile test instrument, NSF Grant CNS-0923203. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. Additional support came from the Roboticists Without Borders members, AEOS Inc., Oceanserver, LYYN, and SeaBotix.

Publications about the tsunami response:

Matsuno, F., Sato, N., Kon, K., Igarashi, H., Kimura, T., Muphy, R.R.,
“Utilization of Robot Systems in Disaster Sites of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake”, International Conference on Field and Service Robotics ,

Robin R. Murphy, Karen L. Dreger, Sean Newsome, Jesse Rodocker, Eric Steimle, Tetsuya Kimura, Kenichi Makabe, Fumitoshi Matsuno, Satoshi Tadokoro, Kazuyuki Kon,
“Use of Remotely Operated Marine Vehicles at Minamisanriku and Rikuzentakata Japan for Disaster Recovery “, IEEE Symposium on Safety Security Rescue Robotics, p. 19-25, (2011). Runner-up Best Paper.
Link

Robin R. Murphy;Karen L. Dreger;Sean Newsome;Jesse Rodocker;Brian Slaughter;Richard Smith,;Eric Steimle,;Tetsuya Kimura;Kenichi Makabe;Fumitoshi Matsuno;Satoshi Tadokoro;Kazuyuki Kon;,
“Marine Heterogeneous Multi-robot Systems at the Great Eastern Japan Tsunami Recovery”, Journal of Field Robotics, special issue on Heterogeneous Multiple Robots, Volume 29, Issue 5, pages 819–831, September/October 2012. LINK TO onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/rob.21435/abstract

This project deployed two joint Japan-US teams with unmanned marine vehicles to assist with the earthquake and tsunami response. The teams worked north of Sendai, Japan, for 8 days in both April 2011 and Oct 2011. Unmanned systems are needed to inspect the critical infrastructure such as bridges, ports, seawalls, gas and water pipelines, hospitals, and schools after earthquakes, hurricanes or other natural or anthropogenic events—both for the safety of the public and rapid economic recovery. The use of unmanned systems allows greater access to “hidden” viewpoints in the rubble or underwater, or from new “hummingbird” perspectives in the air. The Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue at Texas A&M established a cache of rescue robots after the 9/11 World Trade Center and continues to add and improve robotic and data collection capabilities through NSF funding. CRASAR has participated in 15 disasters to data and the cache is supplemented with donations of time and equipment from CRASAR’s Roboticists Without Borders program. The CRASAR team working with partners from the International Rescue System Institute in Japan prepared ground, aerial, and marine robots for immediate deployment at the request of Miyagi and Iwate prefectures, but the situation with the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant prevented travel until April, at which point the need was for marine vehicles to help the 400 miles of devasted coastline recover from the disaster. The team of industry experts and scientists went beyond providing technology, they learned more about the real challenges of using the robots in 14 days than they could in years in the lab. Through participatory research, the team learned by doing what the performance of the robots, the fidelity of the imagery, and the types of decisions that the sensor data collected by the robots is used for.such as cognitive overloading and barriers in gathering reliable, understandable data. The team collected a corpus of data of the real scientific challenges are in disaster robotics: how artificial intelligence and human-robot interaction research can contribute to overcoming these problems.

The project surveyed over 10,000 m2 of submerged areas in less than 16 hours in the water, finding over 100 major objects to be removed, and produced both scientific findings and societal benefits. The project identified issues for the artificial intelligence (AI), human-robot interaction, geospatial information systems (GIS), and cyber-physical systems (CPS) communities. For the AI community, the project found that the limited launch space for the robots and the use of active sonars posed unforeseen challenges in multi-robot collaboration and that there is a need for a new multi-agent utility function that would maximize coverage and perceptual confidence while minimizing time. For the human-robot interaction community, the project observed 2 of the 7

 possible errors or bottlenecks predicted by the Shared Roles Model, reinforcing the advent of predictive human modeling. For the GIS community, the project found a lack of GIS ‘common ground’ for ROV coordination and to show stakeholders what had areas had been searched
; visualizations that can better project underwater damage and represent findings over time

 are essential. For the CPS community, the project found
 that ROVs are significantly underactuated and will require major advances in control theory in order to improve performance. The broader impact of the project was the immediate benefit to society. The deployments accelerated economic recovery efforts in Japan by enabling the major fishing port in Minamisanriku, the second largest fishing region in Japan, to reopen months earlier than expected- in time for the salmon fishing season. In the October 2011 deployment, the unmanned marine vehicles found submerged fishing boats leaking diesel fuel into the pristine fishing waters in areas searched and cleared by manual divers. The deployments also helped the Japanese Coast Guard search for missing victims in the floating islands of debris and shallow bays where divers cannot work without high risk. Although no bodies were recovered, the townships of Minamisanriku and Rikuzentakata were able to move closer to closure knowing that the nearly 10,000 missing loved ones were not just meters away in the water but probably swept off the continental shelf.

Video footage is on YouTube and at www.crasar.org.