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Disaster Response

Episode 16 – Disaster Response

Claire Asher 29th April, 2022


robots to the rescue

One of the most dangerous and unpredictable Earth environments we can send robots into are disaster zones – sites devastated by natural disasters or conflict — but here they can play some of their most impactful roles, such as surveying, search and rescue, even detecting land mines or defusing bombs.

To find out more about these daring rescue robots, Claire chatted to two roboticists who’ve worked on disaster response: Russell Buchanan (University of Oxford) and Dr. Mario Gianni (University of Plymouth).

Russell Buchanan is a PhD student in robotics at the University of Oxford. He is originally from Canada and has a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from McGill University and a Master of Science in Robotics from ETH Zurich. His current work at the Oxford Robotics Institute is focusing on perception for legged robots in challenging environments such as underground mines and sewers.

Mario Gianni is an Associate Professor of Robotics at the University of Plymouth. His knowledge and expertise mainly focus on the development of methods combining AI, machine learning, control theory and optimization to robotics for extreme environments. He is working to enhance automation and situational awareness of robotic systems for mapping nuclear sites, explosive ordinance disposal and inspections in offshore wind farms. In 2012 and 2016 he deployed a team of ground and aerial robots to support rescue responders in two earthquakes that occurred in Italy.

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