Robin Murphy is the Raytheon Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University and director of the Humanitarian Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, formerly the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue (now a nonprofit). She helped found the fields of disaster robotics and human-robot interaction, concentrating on developing human-centered AI for ground, air, and marine robots. Her work is captured in over 150 publications including Introduction to AI Robotics and the award-winning Disaster Robotics. Murphy has deployed robots to over 27 disasters in five countries including the 9/11 World Trade Center, Hurricane Katrina, Fukushima, the Syrian boat refugee crisis, and Hurricane Harvey but her research also includes preparedness and prevention of disasters. Murphy’s contributions to computing have been recognized with the ACM Eugene L. Lawler Award for Humanitarian Contributions. You can follow her at @robinrmurphy and @crasar.
Lecture: Breaking the Surface, Saving Lives
This talk provides an overview of the smartEMILY project, a small unmanned surface vehicle designed originally to assist beach lifeguards, and now being expanded to assist with marine mass casualty events and to search for submerged drowning victims. EMILY has been used since 2010 by lifeguards in multiple countries. Starting in 2016 with funding by the US National Science Foundation, the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue through its Roboticists Without Borders program has deployed two EMILYs in Greece to help the Hellenic Coast Guard and volunteer organizations to prevent drownings of Syrian boat refugees. EMILY is credited with directly saving 26 lives and in assisting with the safe passage of hundreds of boat refugees. The project is an ongoing case study in how artificial intelligence can amplify and scale lifeguard efforts, allowing 2-3 lifeguards to handle 30-50 victims versus routine lifesaving where only one or two people are in distress. It also illustrates the value of conducting work domain analyses with expert users in identifying where autonomy is appropriate and how autonomy can be effectively shared rather than assuming humans are to be replaced. Extensive video will be shown.