Intelligent Mobile Robots being developed for disaster mitigation, fire fighting

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ISLAMABAD, Aug 12 (APP):Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications is in
process of developing an Intelligent Mobile Robots (IMR) which would be used
for disaster mitigation and fire fighting.
The mobile robots will be equipped with all modern sensing
and communication devices with on-board computational capabilities.
The intelligent mobile robots would have features including detection
and extinguishing fire, intelligent behavior such as object
detection, target tracking, collision avoidance, formation movement
of a group of robots and autonomous and manual control.
The Ministry is funding the project through National ICT Research
and Development Fund (Ignite) and Principal Investigator’s
Organization (PIO) is PAF Karachi Institute of Economics and
Technology. The cost of this on-going project is Rs.14.68 million.
As per details, the IMRs will be built in-house and will
also be available for local industries/hospitals/offices. The
intelligent mobile robots will be able to execute a mission
(e.g. object detection in a complex terrain, surveying,
trajectory following etc) by incorporating intelligent
techniques and robust control algorithms.
The past records indicate a high frequency of disasters
of multiple nature and magnitudes as experienced by Pakistani
nation. These disasters include industrial fires, terrorism,
floods and earthquakes.
The industrial sector of Pakistan is huge and consist of
myriad industrial units ranging from cement manufacturing,
dying units, steel, glass, paints and many others in which
heavy machinery is utilized.
Due to the ad-hoc nature of industrial setup and absence of
stringent rules and regulations governing the installation and
commissioning of boilers, heaters and many other electro-mechanical
equipment, accidents are frequent. In most of the cases the
accidents no matter what the cause leads to fire.
The fire fighting department, in most cities is unable
to provide immediate support for extinguishing the fire.
Quick and effective rescue operation cannot be guaranteed
due to many unavoidable reasons. Fire fighting is a dangerous job
which in certain situations may lead to severe casualties of
the work force involved.
Therefore, the scope of the project is to develop a group of
intelligent cooperative fire fighting and disaster mitigation
mobile robots which can perform critical operations in adverse
circumstances and hazardous environments.
Mobile robots will be developed that can be included as a
work force in the fire fighting department.
When contacted, official sources said Intelligent Mobile Robots
are extensively used nowadays in many applications and they are
extremely helpful.
They can be effectively utilized in life threatening missions
as well as in harsh weathers for surveillance investigation,
tracking, rescue operation and map generation.
Use of sensor network based technologies can enhance the level
of preparedness and ability to handle consequences of the disaster.
Applications which have human risks such as handling of
nuclear waste, identification of location of explosives, etc., show
the potential of use
of mobile robots functioning as a group.
IMR’s with all of the state-of-the-art technologies built
into it are very costly. Small scale IMRs are available in
market but all of them have manual control which is difficult to
manage and even the experienced personnel cannot guarantee a
successful mission.