State Representative Dan Frankel is calling for the federal government to convene an international summit on the use of robots and remote-controlled devices during natural and man-made disasters. He says it should be held in Pittsburgh because it’s the center of such technology in the U.S.
Frankel says the idea came as he’s watched the news from Japan’s damaged nuclear plant, where, in spite of highly developed robotics, people working to solve the problems are at risk from high levels of radiation.
Professor Red Whittaker of Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute, who built robots used during the Three Mile Island nuclear incident in 1979, says a summit would be very relevant because robotics can be more effective with planning and training, rather than being called upon at the height of a disaster. He says there's a vast need for robotic response anytime the world is in trouble--whether it be a nuclear accident, a mining collapse, or a natural disaster.