Dr. Agogino participates in discussion of how robots and A.I. can assist with UN’s Sustainable Goals.

Robots Mitigate Danger during OCR Tunnel Emergency Scenario

Robots Mitigate Danger during OCR Tunnel Emergency Scenario
Imagine that there is a multi-car accident in a well-used roadway tunnel. Imagine that one of the vehicles involved is an overturned truck carrying hazardous materials. Imagine that there are unknown numbers of drivers and passengers trapped in their vehicles at this potentially poisonous underground scene.

You didn’t have to imagine this scenario if you were a participant or attendee at Operation Convergent Response (OCR) 2019 in late November. This emergency scenario was played out for observers three times a day by a dozen firefighters from Macon, Georgia that were using Squishy Robotics sensor robots to improve first responder safety and emergency response in this type of disaster. Squishy Robotics was participating for the second year at this three-day immersive demonstration event sponsored by Verizon and Nokia that enables military, first responders, and other emergency personnel to experience how advanced technologies can work under pressure in a crisis.

More than 900 attendees from the first responder space attended OCR. Squishy Robotics team members were able to connect with many people and organization representatives that they had met last year and update them on the company’s progress and on the robots’ improvements. 

Lead Mechatronics Engineer Douglas Hutchings was exhausted after the long days of training (which occurred before the demonstration days) and the three showcase days but was excited by the robots’ performance. “This year we demonstrated real functionality during the scenarios as well as at our booth,” Hutchings said. He thought that the event was easier and less stressful than the 2018 event, noting the many product advancements Squishy Robotics has made in the past year. “The lessons that we learned from last year’s event informed what we redesigned or improved during that last 12 months,” he said. “Our video capabilities, UI design, and our chemical sensing abilities were head and shoulders above where they were last year.”

The Squishy Robotics’ team worked side-by-side with the Macon, GA firefighters and other technology solution providers, COO Deniz Dogruer explained. “Not only did we get the opportunity to repeatedly push our technology to the limits and test in a real-world environment,” Dogruer said, “but the positive, collaborative atmosphere among exhibitors and sponsors is extremely motivating and like no other. Rather than compete with one another, exhibitors focus on coming together and collaborating to provide first responders with a complete technology solution.” 

To demonstrate various deployment methods and an indoor use case, firefighters threw robots into the tunnel for the scenario as well as deployed a robot outside the tunnel from a drone. “Attendees agreed that there is a sufficient need for our robots in the emergency response space,” said Dogruer. “Everyone who attended or participated in our demonstrations totally understood the use case. The showcase helped to demonstrate that even without a drone for deployment, our robots can help save lives.”
Photo at OCR Emergency Response
Photo at OCR Emergency Response
Photo at OCR Emergency Response
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