Respond-R, launched in 2009, is a research project at the Texas A&M University. It is supported by a $2 Million MRI grant from the National Science Foundation. It is a multi-disciplinary and integrated research effort to facilitate field research in Emergency Informatics (EI). EI is the real-time collection, processing, distribution and visualization of information for prevention, preparedness, response and recovery from emergencies.
The research scope of Respond-R can be divided into 4 core domains – Unmanned and autonomous systems, Networking, Sensors and active sensing, and Human Robot Interaction (HRI). The goal here is to provide the researchers a complete and modular framework with unmanned system platforms (aerial, ground, and marine) plus an extensive, reconfigurable wireless network and next generation of robot and human performance sensors.
By creating an Emergency Informatics instrument, Respond-R is expected to have a profound impact on research and training. It will create the technology to support incident management of events such as disaster response, emergencies and which can also perform continuous monitoring and prediction tasks. The broader societal impact of Respond-R goes beyond the traditional domains of scientific research and literally affects situations dealing with life and death.
The primary motivation behind Respond-R is the fact that the on-going research in Emergency Informatics usually focuses on a specific technology e.g. unmanned vehicle, network configuration, a sensor etc. Clearly emergency informatics requires strong interaction between these disparate components and the physical world with humans in the loop. Respond-R aims to address this lack of comprehensive instrument for disaster response.