Smart communications infrastructure for first responders.
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Smart communications infrastructure for first responders.

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    "This report summarizes the findings of the work performed under this SBIR Phase 1 Project. The objective of this SBIR is to develop a multi-robot system capable of autonomously deploying and maintaining a portable and temporary communication infrastructure to provide coverage for emergency responders at the scene of an incident. Ability to effectively communicate is extremely important for emergency responders because of the need to be able to effectively transfer voice, video, and data for effective incident management. The problem with most communication technologies is that they require the use of a communication infrastructure to function properly. This poses a challenge to emergency responders trying to use communication capabilities because deploying a communication infrastructure a-priori, or during emergency response is impractical for various reasons including cost, deployment time, and lack of manpower at a scene. The approach we are pursuing is to deploy a portable and temporary communication infrastructure at an emergency scene using a group of robots that work in concert to set up network access points to provide coverage to all emergency responders at a scene. This system will be capable of moving around the scene to ensure that each responder has access to a communication link at all times. Therefore, the system in development will enhance the communication capabilities of emergency responders by deploying a temporary communication infrastructure with minimal human participation. This SBIR Phase 1 effort focused on proving the feasibility of the proposed approach and on building the key pieces of the system so the full development can be pursued with additional funding. This Phase 1 effort proved that the proposed approach is feasible by achieved the following milestones: 1) Obtained and tested a proof of concept prototype of a mobile system capable of deploy the temporary network infrastructure 2) Designed a multi-robot control approach that optimizes coverage at the scene 3) Developed a block diagram for a fully operational system to be developed in Phase 2. These milestones will now allow us to pursue additional funding to complete the implementation and evaluation of the system" - NIOSHTIC-2

    NIOSHTIC no. 20060140



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