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Media Advisory 05-021

Robotics Researchers Return to Examine Katrina Devastation With Small Unmanned Helicopters

Journalists are invited to join the study team from Dec. 2 to Dec. 4

The Like90 unmanned aerial vehicle that SSRRC team members will use in Miss.

The Like90 unmanned aerial vehicle that SSRRC team members will use in Miss.

November 22, 2005

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Building upon an earlier search mission using helicopter unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), engineering researchers from the University of South Florida (USF) are returning on Nov. 28 to the Mississippi Gulf Coast with their small, radio-controlled aircraft.

The researchers are accepting requests from accredited reporters who wish to join the team to examine damage to multi-story structures still vacant after Hurricane Katrina and to develop new techniques for using UAVs. The researchers will also be testing new optic and range sensors that may help the helicopters operate in the dark.

Robin Murphy, director of the USF Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue (CRASAR), will lead the team and coordinate media participation. Members of the media may embed with the CRASAR team from Dec. 2 through Dec. 4, although the team will stay only as long as necessary to complete their mission. B-roll is available from USF.

The research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in partnership with Jackson State University's National Center for Biodefense Communications and NSF's Safety Security Rescue Research Center, an Industry-University Cooperative Research Center.

Details of the mission, including visuals from the first search effort, can be found in the university press release linked below.


Media Contacts
Joshua A. Chamot, NSF, (703) 292-7730, email:
Randolph Fillmore, University of South Florida, (813) 974-8476, email:

Program Contacts
Rita V. Rodriguez, NSF, (703) 292-8950, email:
Alex Schwarzkopf, NSF, (703) 292-5359, email:

Principal Investigators
Robin Murphy, University of South Florida, SSRRC, CRASAR, (813) 974-4756, email:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2018, its budget is $7.8 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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