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Robotic Patient Recovery
Title: Senior Research Scientist
Phone: (724) 934-8965
Phone: (724) 934-8965
We propose to develop the conceptual and technical design for an autonomous vehicle that can seek, detect, localize, and retrieve wounded patients from hostile situations. We plan to concentrate on three core technical areas: 1) coverage planning andautonomous navigation; 2) patient detection and identification; and 3) vehicle design for patient retrieval.Critical navigation system technical areas that will be examined include ensuring the entire search area has been checked for patients, determining which areas of potentially rough wilderness terrain are passable and impassable, and searching andnavigating without an a priori map.For the patient detection and localization task, issues we propose to investigate include attempting to identify a patient that is probably not moving, is close to the ground, and is partially occluded by natural vegetation or perhaps masked by thesoldier's own camouflage.Once a wounded patient has been positively identified, the final task is to safely retrieve them. Our plan is to begin with an existing combat-ready outdoor vehicle platform and modify it to support this task. This effort will focus on the necessaryadditions to support grasping the patient and providing them with a sheltered, medically effective transport facility. The use of an autonomous vehicle to retrieve wounded personnel from hostile conditions not only reduces the risk of harm to those whosetask it is to bring the wounded patient back, but also provides some measure of protection to the patient himself, increasing his or her own chances for survival.From a commerical perspective, we believe that there are significant spin-off technologies that could be applied sooner to existing robotics and related products. Specifically, we have identified three market areas - sensor assisted tele-operation,surveillance and monitoring, and hospital operations - where the component technology that is developed for the patient recovery task could be commercializable.
* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *