Hi, I’m Robin. Robots are cool, futuristic and exciting. But when it comes to *actually* using robots to help rescue, recovery and relief efforts in disasters, there’s a lot more to it than flying a drone over an area. When the missions for robots, the data-to-decision processes, and the way they interact with the humans using them aren’t understood correctly, robots may in fact disrupt emergency teams from doing their job. As the founder and researcher in the field of disaster robotics,
I’m here to provide research-based cutting-edge advisory and consultancy on disaster robotics so robots can be used effectively in disasters.
As the founder of disaster robotics, Robin is the leading expert in everything and anything to do with disaster robotics. Her journey into the field was born from her fierce belief that robots could play a crucial role in rescue, relief and recovery efforts.
When she was a young assistant professor, the Oklahoma City Bombing and the Kobe Earthquake took place. It was then she realized that the advanced work in AI and robotics had immense potential to help rescuers. Against the advice of her department head, Robin began to work on robots that could improve disaster response and recovery.
“I didn’t listen. I knew there was too much potential for robots to help rescuers. At the time of the Oklahoma City Bombing and the Kobe earthquake in 1995, I thought to myself – we’ve got to do better. Robots should be able to help. My department head wanted me to focus on basic research. He told me not to worry about applications. But I didn’t listen. I knew there was too much potential for robots to help rescuers.”
Almost three decades later, Robin’s passion for using robots to save the world resulted in the creation of a brand-new discipline: disaster robotics. She is considered a pioneer in the field of disaster robotics and has the hands-on experience to back that up. She became a technical search specialist with Florida Task Force 3, received the first National Science Foundation grant on rescue robots and has studied or responded to nearly 50 emergencies in the U.S. and abroad to understand robots’ role in the situation.
Robin co-founded CRASAR, a non-profit organization that helps emergency management teams respond, recover, and rebuild by using aerial, ground, or marine unmanned vehicles. A prolific researcher, Robin’s authored over 200 papers, multiple books and continues to carry out groundbreaking research using learnings from how robots are used in real disasters.
Her mission is to ensure that robots are used effectively in disasters – which is more complex than many realize. Research shows that 51% of the terminal failures in disaster robotics are due to human error, which is why Robin is fiercely vocal when it comes to using disaster robots responsibly.
It’s not us saving people. It’s us getting the technology to thepeople who will use it to save people. I ALWAYS HATE IT WHEN I HEAR PEOPLE SAYING that we think we’re rescuers. we’re not. we’re scientists and educators. that’s our role.
Who Robin works with
What they say about Robin
As one of the top international researchers in search and rescue robotics and a true pioneer in multiple respects, Robin Murphy has focused her considerable expertise from field exercises into a concise manual that doubles as both an accessible tutorial and an authoritative reference. An excellent resource!
Richard Voyles, Associate Dean for Research, Purdue College of Technology
I would strongly recommend this book for anyone doing (or looking to do) disaster robotics or work in difficult environments. I would recommend this book for the last section even if the other sections were not in existence.
I give this 5 out of 5 stars (I think this is the first review that I am giving 5 stars, it almost feels wrong).
David Kohanbash, Robots for Roboticists
CRASAR helps emergency management teams respond, recover, and rebuild by using aerial, ground, or marine unmanned vehicles. Co-founded by disaster robotics pioneer Robin Murphy, CRASAR consists of highly trained volunteers that have expertise in deploying robotics in disasters. As one of the only organizations worldwide that focus on using robotics in the field, they’ve deployed and advised emergency management teams at over 30 sites including the World Trade Center attacks, Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Charley, Hurricane Harvey, Fukushima, and the Syrian Refugee Crisis in Greece. By collaborating with official rescue and relief teams, they help rescue workers use data gathered by robots to make better decisions, respond faster and rebuild quicker
Robin’s vast contributions and awards in the field of disaster robotics include:
Hall of Fame for the Women in Emerging Aviation Technologies Awards 2022
IEEE Fellow. Elected
“for contributions to rescue robotics and insertion of robots into major disasters”
ACM Fellow. Elected in 2019
“for contributions in founding and advancing the field of computing for disasters and robotics”.
“founding the field of search-and-rescue robotics and pioneering the field of human-robot interaction, and for informing policy and practice in rescue robotics worldwide.”
Honorable mention 2015 American Publishers Awards PROSE Award for best writing in Engineering and Technology for Disaster Robotics
(MIT Press, 2014)
Emergency Management Technology and Innovation Award for the 100+ flights for Hurricane Harvey from the Emergency Management Association of Texas
for the work with sUAS at Hurricane Harvey (as part of CRASAR)
NSF CISE Distinguished Lecture: "Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue from 9/11 to Now: Where's the IT?" Nov. 11, 2002
(This lecture is given by scientists of the highest caliber and has been compared to the Turing Award lectures for NSF)
ACM Eugene L. Lawler Award
for Humanitarian Contributions