Disaster Robotics

From Intelligent Robotics and Autonomous Agents series

Disaster Robotics

By Robin R. Murphy

A comprehensive, authoritative, and accessible reference for disaster robotics that covers theory, specific deployments, and ground, air, and marine modalities.





A comprehensive, authoritative, and accessible reference for disaster robotics that covers theory, specific deployments, and ground, air, and marine modalities.

This book offers the definitive guide to the theory and practice of disaster robotics. It can serve as an introduction for researchers and technologists, a reference for emergency managers, and a textbook in field robotics. Written by a pioneering researcher in the field who has herself participated in fifteen deployments of robots in disaster response and recovery, the book covers theory and practice, the history of the field, and specific missions.

After a broad overview of rescue robotics in the context of emergency informatics, the book provides a chronological summary and formal analysis of the thirty-four documented deployments of robots to disasters that include the 2001 collapse of the World Trade Center, Hurricane Katrina, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, and numerous mining accidents. It then examines disaster robotics in the typical robot modalities of ground, air, and marine, addressing such topics as robot types, missions and tasks, and selection heuristics for each modality. Finally, the book discusses types of fieldwork, providing practical advice on matters that include collecting data and collaborating with emergency professionals.

The field of disaster robotics has lacked a comprehensive overview. This book by a leader in the field, offering a unique combination of the theoretical and the practical, fills the gap.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262027359 240 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 43 b&w illus.


$35.00 X ISBN: 9780262534659 240 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 43 b&w illus.


  • I would strongly recommend this book for anyone doing (or looking to do) disaster robotics or work in difficult environments. I would recommend this book for the last section even if the other sections were not in existence. I give this 5 out of 5 stars (I think this is my first review that I am giving 5 stars, it almost feels wrong).

    David Kohanbash

    Robots for Roboticists


  • A thorough overview and intellectually stimulating treatment of foundational and advanced concepts by one of the pioneers in the field, this book is an authoritative reference for the library of every researcher and professional working in the area of disaster robotics.

    Bruno Siciliano

    Professor of Robotics at University of Naples Federico II, Italy, and Past President of IEEE Robotics and Automation Society

  • Robin Murphy's book is the one-stop resource for rescue robotics for three key reasons: it provides a well-thought-out taxonomy of rescue robots; it contains supporting data on where, when, and how robots were used; and it reflects on Murphy's experiences in using these robots in her vast deployment experience.

    Howie Choset

    Professor, Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon

  • This book is an excellent introduction to rescue robotics for both researchers and practitioners. Robin Murphy is the most well-known world leader in applying robots to disaster response. Her long-term research and experiences have given her deep insight into the humanitarian application of robots described in this book, particularly in human-robot interaction and fieldwork.

    Satoshi Tadokoro

    International Research Institute of Disaster Sciences, Tohoku University

  • As one of the top international researchers in search and rescue robotics and a true pioneer in multiple respects, Robin Murphy has focused her considerable expertise from field exercises into a concise manual that doubles as both an accessible tutorial and an authoritative reference. An excellent resource!

    Richard Voyles

    Associate Dean for Research, Purdue College of Technology


  • Honorable Mention, 2014 American Publishers Award for Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE Award) in Engineering & Technology, presented by the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers