ECMR 2021 Workshop, 31.8.2021

Rescue Robotics in the Field

Logo of the workshop
Objectives Speakers Program

Logo of the workshop


31.8.2021, 14:00 MESZ, Berlin, Online Zoom: Zoom link
(Texas Huston: -7h, Greenwich Mean Time: -2h, Peking: +6h)

  • 13:45-14:00 Login and check up

  • 14:00-14:05 Welcome and opening remarks

  • 14:05-14:50 Robin Murphy: Small Unmanned Aerial Systems for Floods and Wildland Firefighting

  • 14:50-15:20 Robert Grafe: The German Resuce Robotics Center - Mobile robotics in field trails and real missions.

  • 15:20-15:50 Nina Felicitas Heide: Mobile Robots for Decontamination Tasks

  • 15:50-16:00 Break

  • 16:00-16:45 Raimund Edlinger: Adaptable Sensor Concept and Improved Operator Support for Safe Exploration

  • 16:45-17:15 Oskar von Stryk: Competitions & Benchmarking in Rescue Robotics

  • 17:15-17:25 Break

  • 17:25-17:55 Sven Behnke: Autonomous Assistance Functions for Centaur-like Ground Robots and Micro Aerial Vehicles in Disaster Response

  • 17:55-18:25 Helge Lauterbach: UAV based mapping for disaster response and preventive measures

  • Discussion - 18:45


Despite good training, tactical concepts and protective equipment, thousands of emergency services around the world are injured or killed in action every year. With the advancing technical development, it is foreseeable that mobile robot systems will increasingly take over tasks in order to make the handling of operations safer. The workshop aims at bringing together researchers and end users, who work in the field. The goal of the workshop is to
  1. foster the discussion between them,
  2. establishing cooperation,
  3. increasing the visibility of their methodical approaches, and
  4. contribute to the progress in the field through strengthening approaches that allow for comparative rescue robotic research in the field.

Invited Speakers

  • Robin Murphy

    Title: Small Unmanned Aerial Systems for Floods and Wildland Firefighting

    Abstract: Ground, aerial, and marine robots have been used for the response and recovery phases of disasters since 2001, and small unmanned aerial systems (UAS) are becoming common for floods and wildfires. This talk will describe the three phases of a disaster and the role of sUAS in each. It will then present eight categories of missions for small UAS, some of which are more common for floods then wildfires. From a robotics perspective, floods and wildland fires cannot be solved with a single “one size fits all” approach. Not all of the different mission objectives are well-suited for full autonomy and pose many challenges for computer vision and machine learning. Furthermore, robots must fit into a larger ecosystem of missions, platforms, data, and people. The COPIED heuristic is presented which captures the influences on whether a robot is adopted or not. Case studies illustrating the uses, opportunities, and challenges for robotics will be presented.

    Dr. Robin R. Murphy is the Raytheon Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University and a director of the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue. Her research focuses on artificial intelligence, robotics, and human-robot interaction for emergency management. She has deployed ground, aerial, and marine robots to over 30 disasters in five countries including the 9/11 World Trade Center, Fukushima, Hurricane Harvey, and the Surfside collapse. She is an ACM and IEEE Fellow, a TED speaker, and the author of over 200 papers and four books including the award-winning Disaster Robotics. Her contributions to robotics have been recognized with numerous awards including the ACM Eugene L. Lawler Award for Humanitarian Contributions and the Motohiro Kisoi Rescue Engineering Awards.

  • Robert Grafe

    Title: The German Resuce Robotics Center - Mobile robotics in field trails and real missions.

    Abstract: The speech will depict the establishment of the German Rescue Robotics Center as a competence center for applied usage of mobile robotics in the field of first response/ rescue. The presentation will include insights in the extensive infrastructure for testing and evaluation obtained by the German Rescue Robotics Center. Furthermore, an overview of actual applications of robotic systems in real missions will be given.

    Dipl-Logist. Robert Grafe (male) is the CEO of the DRZ e.V. Since 2014, he worked as a research associate at the Dortmund Fire Brigade in the field of rescue robotics. His fields of expertise are requirement analysis, scenario descriptions as well as the conduction of field tests. He contributed to the operational concept for the usage of drones in the Dortmund fire brigade. He co-initiated the foundation of the DRZ e.V.

  • Nina Felicitas Heide

    Title: Mobile Robots for Decontamination Tasks

    Abtract: The talk on 'Mobile Robots for Decontamination Tasks' will present the research on Robotic systems for decontamination in hazardous environments which is conducted within the ROBDEKON competence center. ROBDEKON is dedicated to the research of autonomous and semi-autonomous robot systems. In the future, the mobile robotic systems should carry out decontamination work autonomously so that people can stay away from the danger zone. ROBDEKON is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the Research for Civil Security programme since mid-June 2018. It is coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation IOSB. The talk will present the competence center and its different use cases such as the remediation of landfill sites or the dismantling of nuclear facilities. It will furthermore illustrate the achieved milestones in the research and practical application of mobile robots in decontamination tasks on selected application examples.

    Nina Felicitas Heide studied Electrical Engineering and Information Technology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany and graduated as M.Sc. in 2017. Since 2017 she is a research associate at the Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technology, and Image Exploitation in Karlsruhe. Her main research focus is the environment perception for mobile robots and the transfer of the research results to the environment perception with camera systems and LiDAR sensors with a special focus on autonomous heavy construction machinery. Since 2019 she is also a lecturer at the Pforzheim University on 'Perception for Mobile Robotic Systems'.

  • Raimund Edlinger

    Title: Adaptable Sensor Concept and Improved Operator Support for Safe Exploration

    Abtract: The talk introduces a modular and flexible sensor concept with a plug-and-play approach for different robot applications. This shall reduce the effort for system integration and sensor calibration significantly and provide a customized perception of the environment during certain work processes. Improved operator support functions with environmental and tactile sensors for tracked rescue robots for safe operation and navigation of complex robotic systems will be presented.

    Raimund Edlinger is Assistant Professor at the University of Applied Science Upper Austria Campus Wels and Research Project Manager in the research group Smart Automation and Robotics. He studied Automation Engineering as M.Sc. (2013) and Sensors & Microsystems with Diploma degree DI(FH) (2007) at the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria. From 2007 – 2018 he worked as a research associate in the field of autonomous mobile robots and received as team leader numerous awards and experiences in national and international robot competitions (RoboCup Rescue League, IAEA Robotics Challenge, EnRicH, WRS- World Robot Summit, Eurobot).

  • Oskar von Stryk

    Title: Competitions & Benchmarking in Rescue Robotics

    Abstract: The talk discusses the role of competitions and benchmarking to advance ground robots for search and rescue missions. It elaborates strengths and weaknesses of current activities and proposes further developments for bridging the gap between research and everyday use of rescue robots.

    Prof. Oskar von Stryk is Full Professor at the Department of Computer Science of TU Darmstadt. He is Deputy Chairman of the German Rescue Robotics Center e.V., which he co-founded, founding trustee of the Association for the Understanding of Artificial Intelligence and Vice President of the International RoboCup Federation. He has published more than 200 international peer-reviewed publications and co-founded the robotics startups Bionic Robotics, Energy Robotics and Freemotion Systems. Prof. von Stryk is an expert reviewer for national and international research projects. His research on cooperating autonomous mobile robots, biologically inspired robots and numerical optimization and control methods has been funded in more than 30 projects by national, European and US research agencies. The research results have received several awards, e.g., a first prize of the European Robotics Technology Transfer Award, the Hessian Cooperation Award, the Louis Vuitton Best Humanoid Award and numerous international competitions for autonomous mobile robots (e.g, ARGOS Challenge, ENRICH, RoboCup, World Robot Summit). Academic Influence has ranked him among the 25 most influential computer scientists worldwide.

  • Sven Behnke

    Title: Autonomous Assistance Functions for Centaur-like Ground Robots and Micro Aerial Vehicles in Disaster Response

    Abstract: We developed centaur-like ground robots and micro aerial vehicles to support rescue workers in disaster response. While direct teleoperation of such robots offers a high degree of flexibility, it requires extensive operator training and induces high cognitive load on the operator. Autonomous assistance functions at multiple levels of control can address these issues. They require suitable environment perception through 3D sensors and cameras as well as planning of navigation, locomotion, and manipulation actions. In the talk I will report on results of the H2020 CENTAURO project, the MBZIRC 2020 challenge, and the BMBF A-DRZ project.

    Prof. Dr. Sven Behnke holds since 2008 the chair for Autonomous Intelligent Systems at the University of Bonn and heads the Computer Science Institute VI Intelligent Systems and Robotics. He graduated in 1997 from Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg (Dipl.-Inform.) and received his doctorate in computer science (Dr. rer. nat.) from Freie Universität Berlin in 2002. In his dissertation "Hierarchical Neural Networks for Image Interpretation" he extended forward deep learning models to recurrent models for visual perception. In 2003 he did postdoctoral research on robust speech recognition at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley, CA. In 2004-2008 Professor Behnke led the Emmy Noether Junior Research Group "Humanoid Robots" at Albert-Ludwigs-Universiät Freiburg. His research interests include cognitive robotics, computer vision, and machine learning. Prof. Behnke received several Best Paper Awards, three Amazon Research Awards (2018-20), a Google Faculty Research Award (2019), and the Ralf-Dahrendorf- Prize of BMBF for the European Research Area (2019). His team NimbRo has won numerous robot competitions (RoboCup Humanoid Soccer, RoboCup@Home, MBZIRC).

  • Helge Lauterbach

    Title: UAV based mapping for disaster response and preventive measures

    Abstract: This talk presents results of two projects in the rescue robotics context. While in Eins3D (UAV based reconnaissance in 3D) the main objective is instantaneous mapping of rescue scenarios to support rescuers, Deals3D (preservation of cultural heritage in 3D) focuses on accurate maps for preventive maintenance or reconstruction of cultural heritage. Our continous-time mapping approach is presented as well as results on next best view path planning.

    Helge Lauterbach received his B.Sc in Aerospace Information Technology (2013) and his M.Sc. degree in Computer Science (2016) from University of Würzburg. Since 2016 he is working as a research associate at University of Würzburg, where he is currently pursuing his PhD studies. His research interests include uav based mobile mapping, sensor data processing and 3D point cloud processing.