I write this post just hours after Sandy aka Frankenstorm rocked New York and New Jersey. I am fortunate that my apartment was spared the loss of power, water and basic necessities. My fellow NY’ers just a few blocks down were not so lucky.
The Wnds have died down, the sun even picked through the grey clouds this morning, so it is time to start the clean up. By most estimates, the financial toll will be in the tens of billions. unlike Katrina, this time we will be able to utilize a new force of robots to rescue, repair, and cleanup the mess in Sandy’s wake. For example, Vernon, CT Emergency Management Department will be flying a Parrot AR Drone to provide live HD video feeds for damage inspection. Larger cities now have multiple emergency robots at their disposal. Consultant Mark Merritt expects power utility companies in the area will be deploying drones to speed inspection of infrastructure damage, though he notes there may be “sensitivity” about using drones due to their recent politicization. A recent New York Times article describes power utility drones such as the Aeryon Scout pictured left. No word yet on whether Robin R. Murphy or CRASAR’s Roboticists Without Borders program will be sending in search and rescue robots but we’ll keep you updated. While not ready in time to help with Hurricane Sandy, NASA has been prepping a pair of Global Hawk UAVs for hurricane tracking duties. The autonomous Global Hawk has a flight time of 30 hours and can reach much further than NOAA’s WP-3D Orion manned flights. The robot planes are part of NASA’sHurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) program
Atention readers, please comment or contact us if you see or read more robot stories related to Hurricane Sandy. In the meantime, we encourage you to find out ways that you can help at: https://www.nyc.gov/html/fund/html/donate/donate.shtml