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Immediate Release

Department of Defense Awards Grants in Joint US-Korea Research Collaboration on Disaster Relief Robots

Arlington, VA -- The Department of Defense (DoD) announced today that it will award approximately $3.5 million to six U.S. university teams for research into robotics for disaster relief.

These awards are part of a joint research project with the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy (MOTIE), agreed to in June 2015. Each joint team will involve U.S. performers funded by DoD, and Korean performers funded by MOTIE.

The purpose of this research collaboration is to bring together top researchers in the U.S. and the Republic of Korea to develop robotics capabilities for humanitarian and disaster response and recovery applications.  Research areas funded include: novel platforms for search and rescue, advanced human-robot interaction for command and control, and advanced robotic perception/recognition for enhanced situational awareness.  

The U.S. grant recipients and their anticipated research projects are as follows:

Yong Cho, Georgia Institute of Technology, Hybrid site sensing and human-multi-robot team collaboration for disaster relief at nuclear power plants

Hae-Won Park, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Agile, Soft, and Adaptable Platform for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief

Mark Yim, University of Pennsylvania, Variable Topology Truss for Robotic Humanitarian Missions

Martial Hebert, Carnegie Mellon University, Semantic Mapping for Disaster Response

Allison Okamura, Stanford University, Human-Centered Design and Control of Vine Robots for Disaster Scenarios

Sangbae Kim, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Development of tele-operated quadrupedal robotic platform for disaster response

The U.S. program will be jointly managed by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Asian Office of Aerospace Research and Development.