Smart robot helping police and firefighters with ESA support

Robotic rescuer

13 March 2013

This German-made robotic vehicle is designed to cope with a lot more than just snow. The work of ESA Business Incubation Centre-supported start-up company progenoX GmbH, this all-terrain unmanned ground vehicle will support emergency services in disaster situations.

The UGV is intended for major incidents where rescue staff could be at risk, such as chemical spills or large fires. 

Fast, remote inspection will help rescue teams to establish the best and safest way to proceed.

The vehicle serves as a platform for instruments to examine the situation from a safe distance. It can operate a number of different sensors in parallel, based on the needs of different emergency workers, from police to firefighters to medical units.

All of its data are marked with the position, time and other general information and then sent via cell-phone networks to the appropriate forces.

The vehicle is steered by an integrated unit with communication and navigation technology plus standard interfaces for sensors and cameras, based on developments by Germany’s Fraunhofer FKIE research centre and a defence group. 

The first unit has already been tested at a German police school and is expected to be put into pre-operation within a year.

progenoX developed the vehicle with the support of ESA Technology Transfer Programme’s Business Incubation Centre Bavaria.

Expertise from European space activities is helping to handle harsh environments, guarantee continuous operation and select the best navigation and communication solutions. 

Lightweight materials from space are also being considered for the vehicle, and progenoX is now working with Germany’s DLR space agency to identify space technologies to spin off to improve its heat protection.

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