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Sunday, September 26, 2010


In the early 1990s, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California began a project in Telerobotics as part of its Emergency Response Robotics Program. The primary objective of the design of HAZBOT was to allow safe exploration of potentially dangerous sites and handling of hazardous materials in conjunction with the Hazardous Materials team HAZMAT. JPL started with a commercially available REMOTEC ANDROS V robot, and added many important features to this robot with input from the JPL fire department for operation in combustible environments. For instance the special chassis and manipulator design allow all areas containing electronics and motors to be positively pressurized in the case of HAZBOT entering a combustible site. In addition, a six-degree-of-freedom manipulator with a 30 pound lift capability allows the robot to perform a variety of tasks including the unlocking and opening of doors. The manipulator also incorporates a parallel jaw gripper with a 60 pound squeeze force and a gas detector to aid in material identification. The on-board computer system, which JPL developed, controls the manipulator, track drives, and camera positioning. In addition it processes information from the temperature pressure and chemical sensors which allows the robot to provide vital information on spill location, magnitude, material type and concentration so a well prepared response team can safely enter the site. Two video cameras, one located on the gripper and the other on a movable pan/tilt platform, provide feedback to the system operator who can then control the robot from an operator control station from a distance away.


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