Extreme Environments Robotics: Robotics for Emergency Response, Disaster Relief and Resilience

James Scanlan, David Flynn, David Michael Lane, Robert Richardson, Tom Richardson, András Sóbester

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


Welcome to the UK-RAS White Paper Series on Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS). This is one of the core activities of UK-RAS Network, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). By bringing together academic centres of excellence, industry, government, funding bodies and charities, the Network provides academic leadership, expands collaboration with industry while integrating and coordinating activities at EPSRC funded RAS capital facilities, Centres for Doctoral Training and partner universities. Our globe is getting increasingly vulnerable due to both natural and manmade disasters. Events such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunami, floods and storms are unavoidable, religious and political turmoils are fuelling regional conflicts, and major pandemics are spreading faster due to increasingly connected world because of modern transport and faster people movement. Population change, urbanisation, and climate change further exacerbate the impact of these disasters. RAS plays an important role in building robust emergency response systems that can be exploited in extreme environments, such as collapsed infrastructure following an earthquake or terrorist attacks, and in Polar Regions for monitoring indicators of climate change. This white paper outlines the global trends in robotics for emergency response, disaster relief and resilience. It covers the current state-of-the-art and priorities, as well as the roadmap for the future. It also outlines the current industrial landscape and synergies, UK strengths and opportunities as demonstrated by some of the example projects across the country. There are extensive research issues and opportunities for RAS, which include physical robustness, reliable long-range communications, dynamic and variable autonomy, security, and control of multiple heterogeneous robotic platforms. The purpose of this white paper is to outline the UK strategy and investment in this critical area and recommend how to work together to boost our international competitiveness. The UK-RAS white papers are intended to serve as a basis for discussing the future technological roadmaps, engaging the wider community and stakeholders, as well as policy makers in assessing the potential social, economic and ethical/legal impact of RAS. It is our plan to provide annual updates for these white papers so your feedback is essential - whether it be pointing out inadvertent omissions of specific areas of development that need to covered, or major future trends that deserve further debate and in-depth analysis
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUK-RAS Network
Commissioning bodyUK Robotics and Autonomous Systems Network
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2017

Publication series

NameUK-RAS White Papers
ISSN (Print)2398-4422


  • Robotics
  • Autonomous systems
  • Extremes
  • enivonrments


Dive into the research topics of 'Extreme Environments Robotics: Robotics for Emergency Response, Disaster Relief and Resilience'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this