Over the next few years, a centre of competence will be established in Dortmund, where mobile robot systems for civil security will be researched and developed in a so-called "Living Lab". A special feature of the lab are the connected indoor and outdoor test areas where the systems can be tested together with users for their suitability in different scenarios.
The starting point for the competence centre is the increased complexity of the challenges that authorities and organisations with security tasks (BOS) are confronted with every day in carrying out their tasks. Despite good training, sophisticated tactical concepts and reliable protective equipment, numerous emergency forces around the world are injured or killed in the course of their work every year. However, as technology develops, it is foreseeable that mobile robotic systems will increasingly be able to take over tasks in the future to make operations more effective and safer for responders, people at risk and other assets.
This project, initially scheduled for four years, is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)) within the framework of the funding announcement "Civil Security - Innovation Labs/Centres of Competence for Robot Systems in Hostile Environments" (funding codes 13N14852 to 13N14863) under the Federal Government's programme "Research for Civil Security 2012 to 2017" and is supported by the interdisciplinary and well-known association consisting of users, industry, universities and research institutions. The long-term goal is to go beyond this initiation or funding phase and establish a scientifically-oriented centre of excellence that will drive innovative developments forward with its partners. In this way, increasingly powerful robotics technology for rescue forces should become available on the market.
The requirements from operational practice will shape the rescue robots to be developed. For this reason, the research network is coordinated by the Institute for Fire and Rescue Technology of the Dortmund Fire Brigade. The special feature of the project lies in its structure and sustainable orientation: the "German Rescue Robotics Centre" association founded by the project partners as the supporting organisation is to set up and operate the centre of excellence and, after a possible further funding phase, continue to exist in the long term and be continuously expanded.