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About NIFTi
NIFTi is about human-robot cooperation. About teams of robots and humans doing tasks together, interacting together to try and reach a shared goal. NIFTi looks at how the robot could bear the human in mind. Literally. When determining what to do or say next in human-robot interaction; when, and how. NIFTi puts the human factor into cognitive robots, and human-robot team interaction in particular.   Each year, NIFTi evaluates its systems together with several USAR organizations. Rescue personnel teams up with NIFTi robots to carry out realistic missions, in real-life training areas. 
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Official press release of DFKI (English)

On May 20 2012, the Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy was hit by a sequence of earthquakes. This was followed up by a further earthquake on May 29, and aftershocks on June 3 and 6. The earthquakes and shocks caused major damage, in a region known for its rich and long cultural heritage. From Tuesday July 24, until Friday July 27, the EU-funded project NIFTi successfully deployed a team of humans and robots in Mirandola, Emilia-Romagna. The team deployed upon request from the Vigili del Fuoco, the Italian national rescue organization in charge of disaster response and recovery. The team was co-led by DFKI (Saarbrücken) and the University La Sapienza (Rome). The goal was to aid the Vigili del Fuoco and the Beni Culturali (Ministry of Culture) in assessing damage to various churches.

Natural Human-Robot Team NIFTi Successfully Aids in Recovery from Earthquake in Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Saarbrücken, August 2, 2012

 

On May 20, 2012, the Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy was hit by a sequence of earthquakes. This was followed up by a further earthquake on May 29, and aftershocks on June 3 and 6. The earthquakes and shocks caused major damage in this region that is known for its rich and long cultural heritage. 

From Tuesday July 24, until Friday July 27, the EU-funded project NIFTi successfully deployed a team of humans and robots in Mirandola, Emilia-Romagna, for a damage assessment mission. The team was co-led by DFKI (Saarbrücken) and the University La Sapienza (Rome). The team deployed upon request from the Vigili del Fuoco, the Italian national rescue organization in charge of disaster response and recovery. The project’s goal was to aid the Vigili del Fuoco and the Beni Culturali (Ministry of Culture) in assessing damage to various churches. The NIFTi team closely worked together with members of the Vigili del Fuoco. 

NIFTi deployed a team of seven people, two tracked ground robots and two microcopters, to provide high-resolution video material, and 3D reconstructions for assessing structural damage to buildings and cultural artifacts. All robots, and the systems to operate them, were developed by the NIFTi project. 

The first deployment was at the Chiesa di San Francesco d’Assisi in Mirandola, on Wednesday July 25. Three missions were flown with a microcopter to gather high-resolution video of structural damage to arcs and ceilings, and damage to coffins and art, inside the western gallery of the church. A fourth mission was flown inside the main aisle of the church, to observe the altar and the end of the eastern gallery. The microcopter was operated by a pilot, and a mission specialist/safety commander guarding the pilot. The ground robot entered the church twice, to provide video and a 3D reconstruction of the western gallery. The ground robot was operated by a 5-man team operating out of a remote command post, involving a pilot, mission specialists, and an in-field observer. 

The second deployment was at the Duomo in Mirandola, on Thursday July 26. The microcopter flew two missions for internal structure damage assessment, gathering high-resolution video of damage to ceilings and arcs in the western gallery, and another survey mission over the (inaccessible) main aisle of the duomo. A fourth mission took place outside, to survey damage to the clock tower of the Duomo. The UGV deployed in the western aisle, as well as the top of the nave and the eastern aisle, to gather video of several artifacts. 

All video data was provided to the Vigili del Fuoco, to assist in follow-up recovery missions.  NIFTi would like to thank the various local and ISA-based members of Vigili del Fuoco for all-important logistical and mission support.

 

About NIFTi

NIFTi is funded by the European Union (Jan. 2010-Dec. 2013), through its Cognitive Systems & Robotics unit. The project is coordinated by DFKI (Kruijff; Saarbrücken, Germany). The consortium consists of DFKI, TNO (NL), Czech Technical University (CZ), Fraunhofer IAIS (D), BlueBotics (CH), ETH Zürich (CH), Roma La Sapienza (I), the Fire Department of Dortmund (D), and Vigili del Fuoco (I). 

For more information about NIFTi, please contact Geert-Jan Kruijff (gj@dfki.de)

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