IEEE Robotics and Automation Society IEEE



M. Ani Hsieh
M. Ani Hsieh 
Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA
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Andreas Birk
Jacobs University Bremen, Germany
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Masahiko Onosato
Hokkaido University, Japan
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IEEE International Symposium on Safety, Security and Rescue Robotics

a.The IEEE International Symposium on SSRR is held annually and encompasses the design and implementation of robotics, automation, intelligent machines, systems and devices that can contribute to civilian safety. Applications include search and rescue, rapid screening of travelers and cargo, hazardous material handling, humanitarian demining, fire fighting, law enforcement detection of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosive risks and response to natural disasters. While this symposium is conceptually centered on a set of application domains, the focus is on quality research and fundamental principles that lead to useful robots and automation in all domains. The symposium has continuously grown over the last four years. Table 1 presents an overview of the statistics related to the meeting. A unique aspect of this meeting is the ability for researchers to demonstrate their technology at test sites co-located with the symposium.

SSRR Symposium statistics for the last four years.

  • SSRR 2013 - Date: Oct 21-26, Location: Linkoping, Sweden,  General Chair:Alexander Kleiner , 2013.
  • SSRR 2012- Date: Nov 5-8, Location: College Station TX, General Chair: Robin Murphy, Submitted Papers: 61, Accepted Papers: 43, Tutorials:2, Invited Talks: 4, Panels: 1, Paricipants: 96, 2012.
  • SSRR 2011- Date: Nov 1-5, Location: Kyoto Japan, General Chair:Fumitoshi Matsuno, Submitted Papers:80, Accepted Papers: 59, Tutorials:2, Invited Talks: 7, Panels: 1, Paricipants: 84, 2011.
  • SSRR 2010- Date: July 26-30, Location:Bremem Germany, General Chair:Andreas Birk, Submitted Papers:46, Accepted Papers: 29, Tutorials:0, Invited Talks: 3, Panels: 0, Paricipants: 31, 2010.
  • SSRR 2009 - Date: Nov 3-5, Location: Denver CO, General Chair:Richard Voiles, Submitted Papers:42, Accepted Papers: 30, Tutorials:0, Invited Talks: 4, Panels: 0, Paricipants: 47, 2009.

b. Robots and Sensors integration in future rescue INformation system (ROSIN'10), Workshop Oct 18, 2010, IROS 2010 organized by FumitoshiMatsuno. Seven presentations and twenty-six attendees.

c. Robotics for Disaster Response Workshop    May 13, 2009 - ICRA 2009 organized by Satoshi Tadokoro. 50 attendees.

Challenges and competitions


  • Rescue Robotics Camp:The Rescue Robotics Camps aim to bring together graduate students and responders to educate all regarding the current state of the art in the field of SSRR. Several camps have been held focusing on scenarios such as hurricane response, fire fighting response, tornado response and general urban search and rescue .
  • The NSF - JST - NIST Workshop on Rescue Robotics: Rescue Robotics Camp was held March 8-11, 2010 in Disaster City, TX. The event was organized by Robin Murphy. The 50 workshop participants represented sixteen universities from the United States, Japan, and China. Over one dozen land, marine, and aerial robots were tested using a robot response exercise and other scenarios./li>
  • The 2007 Rescue Robotics Camp 2007 was held September 22-26, 2007 at Instituto Superiore Antincendi - Via del Commercio, 13 - ROMA – Italy. This camp was organized by Daniele Nardi, Adam Jacoff and Satoshi Tadokoro. Eight teams demonstrated technology and a total of 75 people attended the camp, including Italian firemen and local institutions.


List of important publications over past 3 years in TC area.

  • Calisi, D.; Iocchi, L.; Nardi, D.; Randelli, G.; Ziparo, V.A. “Improving Search and Rescue Using Contextual Information”, Advanced Robotics, vol.23, no.9, pp.1199-1216(2008)
  • Shigeru Yotsukura, Tomoichi Takahashi, “Framework of an Emergency Management System Using Different Rescue Simulators”, Advanced Robotics, vol.23, no.9, pp.1233-1246(2009)
  • Zhang, Zhe; Nejat, Goldie, “Intelligent Sensing Systems for Rescue Robots: Landmark Identification and Three-Dimensional Mapping of Unknown Cluttered Urban Search and Rescue Environments” Advanced Robotics, vol.23, no.9, pp.1179-1198(2009)
  • Masashi Konyo, Kazuya Isaki, KazunariHatazaki, Satoshi Tadokoro, and Fumiaki Takemura, “Ciliary Vibration Drive Mechanism for Active Scope Cameras”, Journal of Robotics and Mechatronics, Vol.20, No.3, pp. 490–499(2009)
  • Noritaka Sato, Takahiro Inagaki and FumitoshiMatsuno:"Teleoperation System Using Past Image Records Considering Moving Objects", Proc. of The eighth IEEE Int. Workshop on Safety, Security, and Rescue Robotics (SSRR2010), July, 2010
  • Yotaro Mori?Hideyuki Tsukagoshi?Ato Kitagawa, “Fluid Powered Ropeway: Self-propelled Probe Sliding Along Flexible Tube”, Journal of Robotics and Mechatronics, Vol.23, No.2, 215-224 (2011)
  • Robin R. Murphy, Satoshi Tadokoro, Daniele Nardi, Adam Jacoff, Paolo Fiorini, Howie Choset, Aydan M. Erkmen. Search and Rescue Robotics. Springer Handbook of Robotics (2008), pp. 1151-1173
  • Birk, A., Wiggerich, B., Buelow, H., Pfingsthorn, M., & Schwertfeger, S. (2011). Safety, Security, and Rescue Missions with an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV): Aerial Mosaicking and Autonomous Flight at the 2009 European Land Robots Trials (ELROB) and the 2010 Response Robot Evaluation Exercises (RREE). Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems.
  • Pathak, K., Birk, A., Vaskevicius, N., Pfingsthorn, M., Schwertfeger, S., & Poppinga, J. (2010). Online 3D SLAM by Registration of Large Planar Surface Segments and Closed Form Pose-Graph Relaxation. Journal of Field Robotics, Special Issue on 3D Mapping, 27(1), 52-84.
  • Birk, A., Schwertfeger, S., & Pathak, K. (2009). A Networking Framework for Teleoperation in Safety, Security, and Rescue Robotics (SSRR). IEEE Wireless Communications, Special Issue on Wireless Communications in Networked Robotics, 6(13), 6-13.
  • Poppinga, J., Birk, A., &Pathak, K. (2010).A Characterization of 3D Sensors for Response Robots. In J. Baltes& M. Lagoudakis& T. Naruse& S. Shiry (Eds.), RoboCup 2009: Robot  WorldCup XIII (Vol. 5949, pp. 264-275): Springer.
  • Nevatia, Y., Stoyanov, T., Rathnam, R., Pfingsthorn, M., Markov, S., Ambrus, R., &Birk, A. (2008). Augmented Autonomy: Improving human-robot team performance in Urban Search and Rescue. Paper presented at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Nice, France.
  • Markov, S., &Birk, A. (2007).Autonomous Victim Detection in Rescue Operations by Modelbased Reproduction of 3D Scenes from 2D Thermal Images. Paper presented at the KI 2007: Advances in Artificial Intelligence.

Special Issues

  1. Advanced RoboticsSpecial Issue Safety, Security, and Rescue Robotics.FumitoshiMatsuno, Itsuki Noda, Robin Murphy and Andreas Birk (Eds.), 2013
  2. Journal of Field Robotics Special Issue Safety, Security, and Rescue Robotics.Andreas Birk and FumitoshiMatsuno (Eds.)., 28 (6), Wiley, 2011
  3. Journal of Intelligent and Robotic SystemsSpecial Issue Safety, Security, and Rescue Robotics. Richard Voyles and Julie Adams, 64, 1, 2011.
  4. Journal of Field Robotics on Safety, Security and Rescue Robotics Special Issue Safety,Security, and Rescue Robotics. Richard Voyles and Howie Choset, 25,1-2, 2008

Summer Schools

  • Rescue Robotics Exercises: Rescue Robotics Exercises, which bring together researchers and responders in field exercises to test equipment, strategies and techniques in a mutually supportive environment that provides real stressors and environmental conditions. The exercises have grown to include field trials at real disasters, such as hurricanes Katrina and Ike, mudslides and building collapses in the United States and Europe, mine collapses, and now, the earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan.The IEEE RAS funded Safety Security and Rescue Robotics summer school this fall: (10-14 September 2012, Alanya, Turkey)
  • The 2007 Rescue Robotics Exercise was organized by Daniele Nardi and held September 26, 2007 at the Instituto Superiore Antincendi - Via del Commercio, 13 - ROMA – Italy.


  • 2012 IEEE Robotics and Automation Most Active Technical Committee Award was presented. (17th. May 2012)

Safety, Security and Rescue Robotics


The SSRR community, the RAS Technical Committee on Safety, Security, and Rescue Robotics, was established in February 1st, 2002 shortly after the deployment of robots at the 9/11 World Trade Center collapse and subsequent accelerated adoption of robots for homeland security and public safety. The primary outreach activity for the TC is to emergency responders and federal and local government agencies and non-governmental organizations for training and acquisition guidance. This is an ongoing activity with numerous events that include the annual IEEE International Symposium on Safety, Security, and Rescue Robotics and the related demonstrations.

News and announcements

Activities for disaster response and recovery in Great Eastern Japan Earthquake:

On March 11th in 2011, Great Eastern Japan Earthquake occurred in Tohoku area in Japan, causing extensive damage to Japan due to earthquake itself, but more significantly the tsunami and radioactive contamination by nuclear plant’s disaster that followed the earthquake. As the emergency responders to this disaster,some TC members contributed to the rescue and recovery operationsusing their own robotic systems. This activity includes:

  1. A monitoring operation in Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant by Crawler type robots (Fig.2) deployed by Satoshi Tadokoro’s research group.
  2. Inquiry in the sea near the disaster site by Marine Robots deployed by FumitoshiMatsuno and Robin Murphy’s research groups.
  3. Surveillance in collapsed buildings by UGVs and UAVs.
  4. Information exchange between international researchers, professionals, media, local governments, governmental organizations, public sectors, private companies, etc. as an international hub.
  5. Promotion of cooperative actions (response, recovery, research and development, etc.) including NSF RAPID Program as one of the centers.