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Fakultät für Elektrotechnik und Informationstechnik

Successful Operation of Networked Sensor Robots at Large Scale Operation Drill by the Fire Department

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A severe traffic accident, which has led to the damage of a nearby radioactive material testing source - That was the scenario of a large scale operation drill by Dortmund's Fire Department on the site of the former Westfalenhütte. More than 150 rescue workers were on duty on April 18, 2015. For the head of operations, the key question concerning the extent of a potential danger towards citizens and rescue workers by radioactive radiation, which has been reconstructed by use of a real source, arose. The hazardous materials drill was designed in a way that the operations management was able to test a networked robot system for hazard determination of nuclear substances for the first time. The cooperating robots, which are equipped with various sensors, have been investigated since 2012 as part of the German-French research project ANCHORS.


The Communication Networks Institute of TU Dortmund as the initiator in charge provides with Prof. Wietfeld the speaker of the consortium with 16 partners. ANCHORS is, from the German side, supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). As part of the project, the Communication Networks Institute is responsible for the investigation of the highly reliable networking and control of the sensor flock. The innovative approach of the project lies within the networking of specialized robots on the ground and in the air via a novel software platform, which has been developed at TU Dortmund. The roundabout 50 guests (among others, the Federal Research Ministry as well as the Federal Offices of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance and for Radiation Protection have been represented) were impressed by the innovations in the field of sensor technology, robotics and communication. Prof. Wietfeld sums up the outcome as follows (translated from German): "We are very happy that, with the successful large scale operation drill, it was possible to demonstrate the actual added benefit of the research, which is conducted for the support of rescue workers by networked robots at TU Dortmund."