Robin R. Murphy's "Disaster Robotics" available February 2014

disasterrobotics.jpgDisaster Robotics, MIT Press, by Dr. Robin Murphy, Raytheon Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University and director of the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue and founder of Roboticists Without Borders is now available. The book documents 34 disasters where ground, aerial, or marine robots have been used, starting with the 9/11 World Trade Center disaster and including Hurricane Katrina and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. It is intended as an introduction and history of the field as well as a reference manual for agencies and emergency managers, and a textbook in field robotics and human-robot interaction.

Dr. Satoshi Tadokoro of the International Research Institute of Disaster Sciences at Tohoku University states, "This book is an excellent introduction to rescue robotics for both researchers and practitioners. Robin Murphy is the most well-known world leader in applying robots to disaster response. Her long-term research and experiences have given her deep insight into the humanitarian application of robots described in this book, particularly human-robot interaction and fieldwork."

The book identifies several surprises: only one urban search and rescue team in the US owns a rescue robot and most robots at disasters were borrowed; the most common use of rescue robots is for mining disasters; pilots of unmanned aerial systems turn off autonomy during disasters; that while robots have rarely failed, over 50% of the failures were due to human error; and that marine vehicles may have a greater impact on rapid economic recovery than expected. The book also offers formal metrics for determining which models of robots are suited for a particular situation and for the human-robot ratio for the depth discussion and a summary.

Dr. Murphy has been working in disasters robotics since 1995 and has participated in 15 of the 34 disaster deployments, creating new methods for documenting and analyzing human-robot system performance in actual operations. She received a B.M.E. in mechanical engineering, a M.S. and Ph.D. in computer science in 1980, 1989, and 1992, respectively, from Georgia Institute of Technology. She has over 150 publications on artificial intelligence, human-robot interaction, and robotics. She is an IEEE Fellow and has numerous professional awards, such as the Motohiro Kisoi award for Rescue Robotics, the AUVSI Al Aube Outstanding Contributor Award, as well as being declared an "Innovator in AI" by TIME, an "Alpha Geek" by WIRED Magazine, one of the "Most Influential Women in Technology" by Fast Company, and the US Air Force Exemplary Civilian Service Award. Dr. Murphy serves on several government and professional boards, including the Defense Science Board and the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Administrative Committee. She recently co-chaired the NSF/CCC Workshop on Computing for Disasters and the DSB study on the Role of Autonomy for DoD Systems.