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iRobot Cofounder Developing UAVs for Search and Rescue

Helen Greiner’s stealth-mode robotics company will focus on emergency response.

We finally have a hint of what The Droid Works, a stealthy-mode start-up founded by Helen Grenier, one of the cofounders of iRobot, will develop.

The NSF has given The Droid Works a grant worth nearly $100,000 to develop indoor and outdoor unmanned air vehicles. According to the report, the UAVs will be used for emergency response:

Indoor applications would enable the UAVs to respond to emergency situations that involve large steps, closed doors and rough terrain. The NSF grant will be used to develop indoor flight control and safety technology for the UAVs.

Other researchers are developing UAVs and other robots to assist with a rescue or survey an area following a disaster. Robin Murphy, a professor of computer science at Texas A&M University, is leading one effort to use snake-like robots to rescue people trapped beneath rubble. More recently she developed a way to use multiply UAVs to survey an area and locate survivors.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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