Search and rescue, robots, disasters, drones | Homeland Security Newswire

Search & rescueIsraeli walk-and-fly Rooster robot aids disaster relief

By Brian Blum

Published 6 December 2017

RoboTiCan’s Rooster robot can help reach injured victims of natural disasters where it is not safe to send a human rescue worker. Rooster got its name from the fowl’s preference for walking but being able to fly when necessary, Ofir Bustan, RoboTiCan’s COO, said. “Most of the time it walks, but when it runs into an obstacle, it can hover and fly.” That makes Rooster different from most other search-and-rescue robots, which can either walk or fly but not both – meaning they can get stuck or are too high above the ground to search effectively for survivors.

Roosters are best known for waking people up at dawn as they announce the start of a new day. But when the Rooster is a robot, it can also save people’s lives.

The Rooster is a new robot from Israeli startup RoboTiCan that can help reach injured victims of natural disasters where it’s not safe to send a human rescue worker.

Rooster got its name from the fowl’s preference for walking but being able to fly when necessary, Ofir Bustan, RoboTiCan’s COO, tells ISRAEL21c. “Most of the time it walks, but when it runs into an obstacle, it can hover and fly.”

That makes Rooster different from most other search-and-rescue robots, which can either walk or fly but not both – meaning they can get stuck or are too high above the ground to search effectively for survivors.

RoboTiCan’s highly maneuverable Rooster is one tough bird. The 30-by-40-centimeter (11.8-by-15.7-inch) robot rolls inside a metal “cage,” which allows it “to take some pretty hard hits,” Bustan says. “It can crash from six meters high and keep on working.”

It’s the robot’s communications that really sets it apart, Bustan explains. A team of Roosters, which can be deployed simultaneously by a single operator, set up their own independent “wireless mesh network” so they can talk to each other and the operator over a distance of hundreds of meters. No need for a cellular connection, which may be offline anyway in a disaster situation.

The operator can also send out a single Rooster and, when it reaches as far into the disaster zone as its communications will carry, send a second Rooster out. The signals will be relayed back to the operator piggyback style.

The Rooster is not an artificially intelligent robot – SkyNet from the Terminator movies is not a reality yet. It is, however, an autonomous robot.

Bustan explains. The first robots were just dumb machines, he says. In an assembly line, there might be “a giant arm that knows it needs to move 30 degrees to the left and clamp down, without knowing what it’s gripping. If there’s a mistake, the robot just stops” and waits for an operator to tell it what to do next.