A Robust Polyurethane Depositing System for Overcoming Obstacles in Disaster Scenario Robotics

  • Alec John BurnsEmail author
  • Sebastiano Fichera
  • Paolo Paoletti
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11650)


One of the most difficult challenges for terrestrial robotic platforms in disaster scenarios is their inability to traverse highly irregular terrain. Many different robotic architectures have been proposed over recent years, each with benefits and shortfalls. In this work, we propose a Polyurethane Foam depositing system, which can be applied to any such platform and increase its ability to overcome obstacles significantly. The system proposed is inexpensive, and the way in which it overcomes obstacles allows very simple control systems for autonomy. The deposited foam has a potential expansion ratio of over 33\(\times \) its constituent parts and a final compressive strength exceeding 2 MPa, final mechanical properties can be tuned on board. The system has been implemented on a two-tracked rover and its autonomous responses tested against significant objects and chasms. The results show that the amount of foam deposited can be well controlled and multiple layers can be stacked on top of each other to significantly increase altitude.


Robotics Disaster scenario Polyurethane Foam Overcoming obstacles Search and rescue 


  1. 1.
    Alexander, D.A., Klein, S.: First responders after disasters: a review of stress reactions, at-risk, vulnerability, and resilience factors. Prehospital Disaster Med. 24(2), 87–94 (2009). Scholar
  2. 2.
    Brunner, M., Brüggemann, B., Schulz, D.: Towards autonomously traversing complex obstacles with mobile robots with adjustable chassis, May 2012.
  3. 3.
    Bruzzone, L., Quaglia, G.: Review article: locomotion systems for ground mobile robots in unstructured environments. Mech. Sci. 3, 49–62 (2012). Scholar
  4. 4.
    The Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR): The human cost of weather related disasters 1995–2015 (2016).
  5. 5.
    Fujisawa, R., Nagaya, N., Okazaki, S., Sato, R., Ikemoto, Y., Dobata, S.: Active modification of the environment by a robot with construction abilities. ROBOMECH J. 2(1), 9 (2015). Scholar
  6. 6.
    Murphy, R.R., et al.: Search and rescue robotics. In: Siciliano, B., Khatib, O. (eds.) Springer Handbook of Robotics, pp. 1151–1173. Springer, Heidelberg (2008). Scholar
  7. 7.
    Napp, N., Rappoli, O.R., Wu, J.M., Nagpal, R.: Materials and mechanisms for amorphous robotic construction. In: 2012 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, pp. 4879–4885, October 2012.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK

Personalised recommendations