Measurements to Support Performance Evaluation of Wireless Communications in Tunnels for Urban Search and Rescue Robots

  • Kate A. Remley
  • George Hough
  • Galen Koepke
  • Dennis Camell


We describe general methods for evaluating the over-the-air performance in various radio propagation environments of wireless devices used for control and telemetry of urban search and rescue robots. These methods are based on identification and evaluation of performance metrics that can be used to assess impairments to the wireless link. The type and level of each impairment are derived from measurement data in a given environment, here a subterranean tunnel. We illustrate how parameters can be extracted from the measurement data to determine specific values for the performance metrics and discuss how these values can be used to develop standardized test methods for assessing, verifying, or predicting robot performance.


Channel Capacity Wireless Device Vector Network Analyzer Receive Signal Power Modulation Bandwidth 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the following: Chriss Grosvenor of the Electromagnetics Division of NIST and Dr. Robert Johnk of the Institute for Telecommunications Science (formerly of NIST) for assistance with the measured data; Dr. Bert Coursey, Director of the DHS Office of Standards and Elena Messina and Adam Jacoff of NIST’s Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory for funding and supporting this work; Dr. Alex Bordetsky of the Naval Postgraduate School for facilitating the measurements during recent interagency marine interdiction operation system tests; Bill Dunlop, Steve MacLaren, and Dave Benzel of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for logistical and technical support; Roger Epperson, Park Supervisor and Gary Righettini, Mine Manager of the East Bay Regional Park District and the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve, for allowing us to conduct measurements; Frederick M. Remley for details on the NTSC video standard.


  1. 1.
    E.Messina, “Performance Standards for Urban Search and Rescue Robots,” ASTM Standardization News, August 2006.
  2. 2.
    National Institute of Standards and Technology, Statement of Requirements for Urban Search and Rescue Robot Performance Standards-Preliminary Report.
  3. 3.
    K.A. Remley, G. Koepke, E. Messina, A. Jacoff, and G. Hough, “Standards development for wireless communications for urban search and rescue robots,” Proceedings of the International Symposium on Advanced Radio Technol., pp. 66–70, Boulder, CO, Feb. 2007.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    C.L. Holloway, W.F. Young, G. Koepke, K.A. Remley, D. Camell, and Y. Becquet, “Attenuation of Radio Wave Signals Coupled Into Twelve Large Building Structures,” National Institute of Standards and Technology Note 1545, Apr. 2008. Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    K.A. Remley, G. Koepke, C.L. Holloway, C. Grosvenor, D. Camell, J. Ladbury, D. Novotny, W.F. Young, G. Hough, M.D. McKinley, Y. Becquet, and J. Korsnes, “Measurements to support broadband modulated-signal radio transmissions for the public-safety sector,” National Institute of Standards and Technology Note 1546, Apr. 2008.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    M.H. Pinson, S. Wolf, and R.B. Stafford, “Video performance requirements for tactical video applications,” Proceedings of IEEE Conference on Homeland Security Applications, 2007, pp. 85–90.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    C. Ford and A. Webster, “Introduction to Objective Multimedia Quality Assessment Models,” Proceedings of the International Symposium on Advanced Radio Technology, Boulder, CO, March 7–9, 2006, pp. 8–15.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
  9. 9.
    A.G. Emslie, R.L. Lagace, and P.F. Strong, “Theory of the propagation of UHF radio waves in coal mine tunnels,” IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, vol. 23, no. 2, Mar. 1975, pp. 192–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    M. Rak and P. Pechac, “UHF propagation in caves and subterranean galleries,” IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, vol. 55, no. 4, April 2007, pp. 1134–1138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    D.G. Dudley, M. Lienard, S.F. Mahmoud, and P. Degauque, “Wireless propagation in tunnels,” IEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine, vol. 49, no. 2, April 2007, pp. 11–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    C. Nerguizian, C.L. Despins, S. Alles, and M. Djadel, “Radio-channel characterization of an underground mine at 2.4 GHz,” IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communication, vol. 4, no. 5, Sept. 2005, pp. 2441–2453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    M. Ndoh, G.Y. Delisle, and R. Le, “An approach to propagation prediction in a complex mine environment,” Proceedings of the 2003 International Conference on Applied Electromagnetics and Communication (ICECom), Oct. 2003, pp. 237–240.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    M. Ndoh, and G.Y. Delisle, “Underground mines wireless propagation modeling,” Proceedings of the 2004 IEEE Vehicular and Technology Conference, Sept., 2004, pp. 3584–3588.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    D. Didascalou, J. Maurer, and W. Wiesbeck, “Subway tunnel guided electromagnetic wave propagation at mobile communications frequencies,” IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, vol. 49, no. 11, Nov. 2001, pp. 1590–1596.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    C.E. Shannon, “Communication in the presence of noise,” Proceedings of IRE, vol. 37, no. 1, Jan. 1949, pp. 10–21.CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    M. Rütschlin, K.A. Remley, R.T. Johnk, D.F. Williams, G. Koepke, C. Holloway, A. MacFarlane, and M. Worrell, “Measurement of weak signals using a communications receiver system,” Proceedings of the International Symposium on Advanced Radio Technology, Boulder, CO, March 2005, pp. 199–204.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    P. Delogne, Leaky Feeders and Subsurface Radio Communications, IEEE Press, New Jersey, 1982.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    B. Davis, C. Grosvenor, R.T. Johnk, D. Novotny, J. Baker-Jarvis, and M. Janezic, “Complex permittivity of planar building materials measured with an ultra-wideband free-field antenna measurement system,” NIST Journal of Research, vol. 112, no. 1, Jan.–Feb., 2007, pp. 67–73.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    K.A. Remley, G. Koepke, C. Grosvenor, R.T. Johnk, J. Ladbury, D. Camell, and J. Coder, “NIST tests of the wireless environment in automobile manufacturing facilities,” National Institute of Standards and Technology Note 1550, Oct. 2008.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    G. Hough, “Wireless robotic communications in urban environments: issues for the fire service,” Thesis, Naval Postgraduate School, March 2008.
  22. 22.
    J. Lee and H. Bertoni, “Coupling at cross, T, and L junctions in tunnels and urban street canyons,” IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, vol. 51, no. 5, May 2003, pp. 926–935.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    A. Goldsmith, Wireless Communications, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, MA, 2005.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    W.C.Y. Lee, “Estimate of channel capacity in Rayleigh fading environment,” IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology, vol. 39, no. 3, Aug. 1990, pp. 187–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kate A. Remley
    • 1
  • George Hough
    • 2
  • Galen Koepke
    • 1
  • Dennis Camell
    • 1
  1. 1.NIST Electromagnetics DivisionBoulderUSA
  2. 2.New York City Fire DepartmentNew York CityUSA

Personalised recommendations