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ROBOTIC VEHICLE 'PANDORA'

The 'PANDORA' research group in robotics, (Program for the Advancement of Non Directed Operating Robotic Agents) from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH), has developed the robotic vehicle 'PANDORA'.

This is an experimental robotic platform, equipped with both autonomous and remotely controlled navigation system, capable of locating possible victims even without human intervention, in areas which have suffered severe damages from incidents such as natural disasters (e.g. earthquakes, fires, tornados etc.).

The robotic vehicle could assist rescuing teams in mapping a potentially dangerous area, in locating survivors, in making first estimation about the situation of the victims as well as in transporting basic supplies, thus making the rescuing work safer and easier.

ROBOT-RESCUER

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS OF PANDORA

While navigating (mostly in autonomous mode), the vehicle maps the environment, recognizes and avoids obstacles. It inspects the area in order to locate victims and approaches for thorough investigation. For this reason, it is equipped with a range of sensors of various types, as well as with a prismatic robotic arm which has the ability to move in five levels. The sensors are divided into two categories:

A. Sensory organs which are responsible for mapping and navigation: ultrasonic and infrared sensors measuring distances, electronic compass, Laser scanner which represents the area map and charts the course of vehicle on it.

B. Sensory organs which are responsible for locating and identifying the victim: temperature sensors which spot human body temperature levels, CO2 sensor which measures the levels of carbon dioxide exhaled by the victim in the area in which it has been trapped, microphones, camera for the visual identification of the victim (e.g. of facial features, skin color, motion etc.). These sensors are placed at the top of the robotic arm.

This architecture follows modern design standards of robotic systems and supports both real-time and non real-time progress. The system is subdivided into independently developed subsystems, which work together through properly designed interfaces. The communication between the subsystems takes place through text messaging, managed by a centralized communication mechanism.

RoboCup Rescue

Space exploration and victim recognition issues are represented in the context of the RoboCup – Roborescue Competition (www.robocup.org), an international forum to promote and encourage high level research in this area.

In this competition, the Pandora team has participated three times (2008, 2009, 2011) with positive results. During the RobocupRescue 2011 global competition, the Pandora team participated with an autonomous vehicle and won the 10th place among 27 participants, earning at the same time participation in the finals of the category of mobility and of handling objects.

ARISTOTLE UNIVERSITY OF THESSALONIKI

Pandora Team: Β. Petridis, Professor, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Ζ. Doulgeri, Professor, L. Petrou, As. Professor, Α. Delopoulos, As. Professor, Α. Simeonidis, Lecturer. PhD Candidates: Ν. Zikos, Χ. Serenis, Μ. Tsardoulias. Postgraduate students: D. Kanlis, Ν. Mihailidis and 15 undergraduate students.

http://pandora.ee.auth.gr