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IRobot Experience in Recent Disaster Responses MajGen David “Duncan” Heinz, USMC (ret) Vice President, Maritime Systems iRobot Corp iRobot 710 Warrior.

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Presentation on theme: "IRobot Experience in Recent Disaster Responses MajGen David “Duncan” Heinz, USMC (ret) Vice President, Maritime Systems iRobot Corp iRobot 710 Warrior."— Presentation transcript:

1 iRobot Experience in Recent Disaster Responses MajGen David “Duncan” Heinz, USMC (ret) Vice President, Maritime Systems iRobot Corp iRobot 710 Warrior iRobot 510 PackBot iRobot 1KA Seaglider Robots That Make a Difference

2 iRobot Humanitarian Missions Ground Zero, Sept. 15, 2001 - NYC Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill - 2010 Law Enforcement (Bomb Threat) - 2009 Fukushima Daiichi, Japan - 2011

3 iRobot Seaglider – Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill iRobot Seaglider autonomously collects ocean data for months at a time at depths of up to 1,000 meters iRobot launched its own Seaglider in the Gulf of Mexico to help researchers identify underwater oil plumes resulting from the spill iRobot helped the U.S. Navy outfit two additional Seagliders with oil detection capabilities “iRobot responded to the spill immediately by preparing and hand-delivering a Seaglider to the accident site within a very short time, making them the very first autonomous vehicle of any kind to be used to survey the area for subsurface oil.” – Dr. Vernon Asper, University of Southern Mississippi

4 iRobot Support to Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Crisis: Rapidly deployed (2) 510 Packbots and (2) 710 Warriors to Japan less than a week after the devastating Tsunami 6 iRobot employees traveled to Japan to assemble the robots and provide operator training to TEPCO personnel PackBot provided the first look into the interiors of Reactors 1, 2 and 3 and supported radiation measurements and cooling water system inspections Warrior used to assist in clean-up activities iRobot 510 PackBot Multi-Mission Robot iRobot 710 Warrior

5 Fukushima Video Here?

6 Premise for Sending Robots 2 overarching factors –Area inaccessibility -- “Too Hard” –Risk to human life -- “Too Dangerous” Less obvious –More economical –Better suited to mission

7 Challenges with Robot Use Rapid response –Language, area access, training Unknown or poorly defined mission Suitability of system to environment –Sensors, strap-on customization, communications Go with what you have –When rapid response matters, must resist urge to “create” new solutions

8 Key Points and Lessons Learned Understanding the mission –Sending the right equipment with the right people Robustness of design –New mission needs WILL happen –Ability to change/add sensors –Strap-on customization Training and rehearsal –Absolutely KEY to success! Spares and business relationships Reach back

9 Conclusions 1.Flexible, robust robot that is reconfigurable quickly at the disaster site critical 2.Ease of use and common software architecture across all platforms is key to efficiently training new operators 3.Communications challenges, demand robot platforms that offer a variety of communications options 4.Mature robotic technology based on years of development and use in hostile environments guarantees a higher level of success 5.Rapid establishment of business relationships critical to supporting on-going technical and logistics needs 6.When disaster strikes, you go with what you have, not what you wish you had The Right Partner with the Right Equipment Matters


11 Back-Up Slides

12 iRobot Training the TEPCO Engineers Training Challenges Encountered Language barriers No prior robot experience Needed rapid response to critical situation Key Success Drivers Easy to learn controls –Game-style controller Menu driven SW features Common SW across all platforms OCU Graphical User Interface Hand Controller

13 Rapid Response Requirements Deployment challenges No direct access to disaster site Specific mission objectives unknown Radiation impact to robots unknown Key Success Drivers Multi-mission capability –Aware 2 common software architecture –Over 65 different accessories, payloads and tool options Flexible communications packages

14 TEPCO CONOPS TEPCO priorities 1.Radiation detection / mapping 2.Survey damage / gain SA 3.Debris removal 4.Monitor facility recovery efforts CONOPS implementation Extensive rehearsals prior to mission execution Missions executed on a tight timetable –Missions: 2 - 3 per day, biweekly –Duration: ~2 hours Day-to-Day objectives change frequently Supplemental Radiac Sensor 4/17/2011 – First Entry 4/17/2011 – Damage Assessment & Radiation Measurement 7/2/2011 – Warrior Deployment

15 Reactor Environment Disaster site challenges High levels of radiation High temperature & humidity Limited visibility in steam Floor-to-floor access & comms Compliance w/ Japan RF regulations Key success drivers Robust robot design, field proven Multiple sensor capability –Cameras –Lighting –Radiation Detectors Multiple communication options (2.4GHz, 4.9GHz, & Fiber Optic Tether) Sample Radiation Map Measured by PackBot Gamma Ray Camera on 710 Warrior

16 On-Going Support Challenges Lack of formal agreements Limited comms at disaster site prevents contact w/ End-Users Export licensing requirements Providing service for contaminated robots Key success drivers Follow-on training Daily tele-con with Japan OEM reach-back for technical and logistics support Available spares at or near disaster site Established business relationship

17 June 5, 2011 News Article: PackBot used in Reactor #1 to measure 4,000 mSv/hr radiation levels iRobot Proprietary

18 Critical Requirements for Disaster Robots 1.Flexible Robot – Multi-mission, plug & play compatibility allows the robot to be quickly reconfigured at disaster location to meet mission objectives 2.Open Software Architecture – Allows for continuous enhancements and facilitates new payload development 3.Operator Friendly – Menu driven, PlayStation hand controllers, easy and intuitive to learn, supported by a common software across all robot platforms 4.Logistics and Operation Support – Spare parts, maintenance and field services ready to be deployed 5.Open Institutional Architecture – Knowledge base global reach, local application payload development 6.Field Proven – 4,000 robots delivered, continual feedback from operation in hostile environments and disaster area usage drives quality and robustness 7.Human Protection – Keeping human work force out of harm’s way –Robust & reliable radio communications –Rechargeable power source –Remote surveillance for best situational awareness –Worker/soldier on-site load reduction (reduce human presence of transporting materials, removing debris and overall exposure time) 8.Preparedness for Terrorism & Outside Threats – similar incident situation iRobot Proprietary

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