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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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Benoit Larochelle, GJM Kruijff, Nanja J Smets, and Jurriaan van Diggelen (2013)

Experiences with USAR Mobile Interfaces: the Need for Persistent Geo-Localized Information

In: Proceedings of the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems.

Urban search and rescue (USAR) missions are unique and unpredictable. Communication and coordination is difficult, with high-level actors (e.g. mission commander) lacking local terrain knowledge while low-level actors (e.g. robot operators, in-field rescuers) lack global situation awareness (SA). In-field actors have high mobility and a direct view of the field, but so far they could communicate this SA almost exclusively through radio. Unfortunately, words are imprecise and unorganized, and thus not easily analyzable and retrievable. As part of the NIFTi1 project, we developed mobile applications to help in-field actors share their SA with the rescue team. We also performed high-fidelity USAR simulations and missions at fire fighting training sites and disaster areas. We discovered a need for persistent geo-localized information and propose a novel system architecture that integrates pictures taken from robots and from in-field rescuers into the existing systems at the command post.
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