Review and Analysis of Search, Extraction, Evacuation, and Medical Field Treatment Robots


One of the most impactful and exciting applications of robotic technology, especially autonomous and semi-autonomous systems, is in the field of search and rescue. Robots present an opportunity to go where rescuers cannot, keep responders out of danger, work indefatigably, and augment the capabilities of the humans who put their lives at risk while helping others. This paper examines the use of robotic systems in human rescue applications, with an emphasis on performing search, extraction, evacuation, and medical field treatment procedures. The work begins with a review of the various robotic systems designed to perform one or more of the above operations. The relative merits of each system are discussed along with their shortcomings. The paper also addresses the use of robotic competitions as a means of benchmarking field robotic systems. Based on the review of state of the art systems, a novel concept (Semi- Autonomous Victim Extraction Robot) designed to address the shortcomings of existing systems is described in the conclusion, along with detailed discussion on how it improves upon state of the art systems. The future research thrusts to be explored before realizing a fully integrated robotic rescue system are also detailed.


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This work is supported by the US Army Medical Research & Materiel Command’s Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC), under Contract No. W81XWH-16-C-0062. The views, opinions, and/or findings contained in this report are those of the authors and should not be construed as an official Department of the Army position, policy, or decision unless so designated by other documentation.

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Williams, A., Sebastian, B. & Ben-Tzvi, P. Review and Analysis of Search, Extraction, Evacuation, and Medical Field Treatment Robots. J Intell Robot Syst 96, 401–418 (2019).

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  • Search and rescue robots
  • Casualty extraction
  • Human-robot interaction
  • Autonomous systems