Search and discovery rovers have evolved to play an essential part in law enforcement and disaster relief efforts. With features such as shared autonomy, high-definition vision systems, and increased mobility, this project aims to create an amphibious rover to aid in the search and discovery of persons in distress. Such a rover would not only give relief teams more information about the situation at hand, but also eliminates the danger of sending search parties into harsh and high-risk environments. The addition of water mobility allows teams to deploy the WALRUS Rover after disasters such as tsunamis or hurricanes. Land-only rovers commercially available today are not capable of these missions. A rover with amphibious capabilities exceeds the maneuverability of current commercial platforms, and enables a wider range of mission profiles. In many cases, there may be victims isolated inside homes or buildings with no method of contacting a rescue team. Typical search methods, such as helicopter teams, may not be able to see an individual in need of assistance in these scenarios.
As we are developing the WALRUS Rover, we will be using the following set of guidelines as requirements to ensure that the rover is capable of achieving its goal of being a search and discovery rover.
- Navigate flat ground at 2 m/s
- Traverse still water at 0.5 m/s
- Capable of climbing standard staircase
- Ability to easily maneuver indoors
- Shared autonomy control
- Sensors to provide situational awareness
- 300m line of sight operation
- 1.5 hour normal operation time
We are currently seeking sponsorships to help make this project a reality. As a token of our appreciation for your generous donation, your company’s name or logo will be prominently displayed on all related media including project posters, presentations, and websites, in addition to the rover itself. The WALRUS Rover will be used in various robotics demonstrations that WPI attends, as well as likely competing in the Intel-Cornell Cup. Additionally, we intend for the rover to be on display at the DARPA Robotics Challenge Expo on June 5-6, 2015, displaying your name or logo to thousands of other engineers.