In many disaster situations the human intervention may involve several risks. These threats may derive from different factors such as damaged infrastructures which can potentially collapse at any instant, inflicting damage to working rescue teams. In addition to this, a hazardous environment may also result from broken gas pipes, biohazard materials and other harmful substances. The usage of robotic rescue agents is a powerful tool for rescue operations where no human casualties need to be at risk. These agents can perform common rescue operation tasks and generally operate with reconnaissance purposes, gathering information from many possible sensors. Similarly to a human rescue team, a team of robot agents moves through the disaster impact zone in search of relevant information which may include the search of trapped victims. An important requirement for any rescue team is that some communication infrastructure is always, or at least frequently available.
This requirement is fundamental for non-autonomous teams and, particularly, for timely transmission of critical data. The proposed rescue scheme considers multiple robot teams equipped with traditional sensors such as a laser range finder, an omnidirectional video camera and an omnidirectional wireless antenna using the IEEE 802.11 standard. Each team should be remotely controlled, as whole, by a human operator, thus reinforcing the importance of connectivity maintenance.