Homes collapse in Philadelphia; at least 8 sent to hospitals

A residential building has collapsed in Philadelphia, and some of the surrounding buildings have partial collapsed. At least eight people have been sent to the hospital, and teams are searching for any other survivors.
Here is a link to the article at: CNN

Pilotless drones to fly over England looking for missing walkers

Drones have been used fore many purposes, and now researchers at University of Central Lancashire have developed a pilotless drone called AeroSee drone. This drones purpose to help search for the missing walker on the mountainside near Lake District. The rescue teams allow anyone to look at the images coming from the drone, and “tag” where they think they see an injured person on the mountainside.

The full article is at Mirror.

The Response Robotics Summer School 2013 – Registrations Open!


The Response Robotics Summer School (RRSS) is a hands-on summer school on the challenges and Best-in-Class solutions for Response Robotics, with a focus on the challenges posed by Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) and remote handling for response applications.

This event is a collaboration between the Curtin University of Technology Department of Computing, the Western Australia Police Bomb Response Unit, the DHS-NIST-ASTM International Standard Test Methods for Response Robots development effort, the RoboCup Federation through the RoboCupRescue Robot League, and Robolit LLC. It is run in conjunction with the Bomb Response Technology Seminar (BRTS), an event for EOD responders and equipment manufacturers from around Australia, the region, and the world.

The event is primarily aimed at PhD and masters students, final year undergraduate project students and early career researchers. We welcome participants from both within and outside the RoboCupRescue Robot League community, as well as participants from Australia and abroad. We particularly welcome participants who are interested in and/or intending to participate in the RoboCupRescue Robot League competitions.

We also welcome representatives of industry and government, including manufacturers, research companies and other organisations that wish to participate within the framework of the academic and responder programs and/or who wish to share and demonstrate their capabilities during the exercises and take advantage of the DHS-NIST-ASTM International Standard Test Methods for Response Robots. Likewise, we welcome interested members of the community who are working on solving these challenges outside of academic and industrial research settings.

This intensive five-day summer school is the latest in a long line of summer schools and teaching camps that started with the original Rescue Robotics Camp in Rome in 2004 and most continued most recently with the IEEE-RAS Safety, Security and Rescue Robotics Summer School 2012 in Alanya, Turkey. It is an outreach activity of the DHS-NIST-ASTM International Standard Test Methods for Response Robots program and has been established by members of the SSRR research community, including members of the Organising Committee of the International RoboCupRescue Robot League, to better address the rapidly growing need for effective robotic solutions in emergency response scenarios.

We encourage participants to bring their prototypical implementations of solutions to challenges within this domain. There will be opportunities to demonstrate these solutions both to other participants as well as to responders, and to evaluate and compare these solutions to those currently in deployment within the framework of the DHS-NIST-ASTM International Standard Test Methods for Response Robots.

Please visit the website at or send email to if you have any further questions or if you would like to be added to the low volume Response Robotics Summer School announcements mailing list.


The summer school runs from Monday the 9th to Friday the 13th of September, 2013.

Registrations are now open! Attendees should visit the website,, for registration details. Registration prices increase in August and close at the end of August. Admission to the summer school is competitive and decided by the Organising Committee. Please see the website for registration instructions and further details.

Due to the nature of the facilities at which this event will be held, all participants must be registered in advance. There will be no on-site registrations available.

This event is capacity limited so we encourage participants to register early!


Attendees are encouraged to bring highly relevant, working implementations of their research to demonstrate to the attendees of the RRSS and BRTS, within the DHS-NIST-ASTM International Standard Test Methods for Response Robots. Demonstrations sought include, but are not limited to, novel sensing, artificial intelligence, mobility, manipulation, mechanisms and user interfaces, that address gaps in current response robot capabilities. A small number of registration fee waivers will be granted to students and researchers from academic institutions who bring such demonstrations, eligibility for which will be decided by the Organising Committee. Please contact us at to discuss eligibility and arrangements for the demonstration. Applications for these waivers will close on the 9th of August.

Attendees from non-academic sectors are also encouraged to bring demonstrations of highly relevant technologies. Please contact us to make arrangements.


The event will open on Monday and Tuesday with academic presentations focusing on the research challenges and current developments in response robotics. Participants will gain a comprehensive overview of the state-of-the-art in crucial areas of research and deployed capabilities, as well as the experiences and needs of the end users.

Participants of the RRSS will join attendees of the BRTS on Wednesday for joint seminars on topics of common interest, followed by preparations for the practical sessions.

The event will continue on Thursday and Friday with joint practical exercises. Participants of the RRSS will work alongside attendees of the BRTS, deploying both commercial and prototypical robotic solutions within the DHS-NIST-ASTM International Standard Test Method for Response Robots apparatuses and operational scenarios at the Western Australia Police Bomb Response Unit’s training and test facilities. Through these joint exercises, participants will be able to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges of the field, identify gaps for further research, test and refine their prototypical implementations, and share their developments with the wider research and responder community.

Please visit for the latest information on topics and speakers.


The lecture component of this event will be held at the Western Australia Police Bomb Response Unit facility in Maylands and the practical exercises will be conducted at the Police Training Facility in Gosnells, both close to Perth in Western Australia. Perth International Airport may be easily reached with regular direct services from many hubs within Oceania, Asia and the Middle East, and via scheduled connecting flights from elsewhere.

Further information about ground transportation and hotel arrangements will be made available shortly so please consult the website closer to the registration date and/or subscribe to the mailing list for updated information.


The RRSS is one of a set of inter-related summer schools, teaching camps, conferences, competitions and evaluation exercises, held around the world throughout the year, that aim to focus research efforts into Safety, Security and Rescue Robotics. Participants with a particular interest in 3D mapping, path planning and software architectures, as applied to this domain, are invited to also consider the Rescue Robotics Camp 2013, co-located with the IEEE International Symposium on Safety, Security, and Rescue Robotics (SSRR 2013), to be held in Linkoping, Sweden, from the 21st to the 23rd of October.

Please see the website for a list of other events.


General Chair:
– Raymond Sheh, US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Robolit LLC, Department of Computing at Curtin University of Technology (from September 2013)

– Bill Collidge, Western Australia Police Bomb Response Unit
– Haldun Komsuoglu, Robolit LLC
– Mihai Lazarescu, Department of Computing at Curtin University of Technology

Advisory Committee:
– Adam Jacoff, NIST

We look forward to seeing you in Perth!

Dr. Raymond Sheh

Intelligent Systems Division, Engineering Laboratory
National Institute of Standards and Technology
100 Bureau Drive, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8230, USA

Research Scientist
Robolit LLC
1829 Pine Street, Suite 404, Philadelphia, PA 19103, USA

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CRASAR and RWB Featured in TIME Rise of the Robots special issue!

Check out the TIME Magazine special edition “Rise of the Robots”! Daniel Cray started out interviewing us as a sidebar and then wrote a larger article “Search Engines” about rescue robotics in general as well as “Rescue Robots to Borrow” which was about CRASAR and Roboticists Without Borders. Both are great intros to rescue robotics, starting with Jim Bastan at NJ-TF1 which is the only US&R team in the US with robots. The pictures are all ground robots, so please don’t forget about the UAVs and UMVs (marine vehicles).

in memoriam: Michael Beebe a Roboticist Without Borders

It is with great sadness that I must report that one of members of Roboticists Without Borders, Michael Beebe, has passed away unexpectedly at his home. Michael epitomized the RWB spirit of our volunteers- he had attended the 2013 Summer Institute at Disaster City® at his own expense in order to be trained as a data manager for the field teams. He has been an active advocate for disaster robotics, leveraging his experience as a Commander in the US Navy and later as a consultant on major initiatives such as Dr. Gary Gilbert’s robotic casualty evacuation program. Mike’s positive attitude, hard work in promoting robotics, and outgoing nature was an inspiration to me. He represents the commitment and expertise that make the Roboticists Without Borders program so special. Please see: for Michael’s Obituary.