Research

Gemini-Scout Mine Rescue Vehicle

Gemini Scout

The Gemini-Scout Mine Rescue Robot was designed by Sandia robotics engineers to replace humans in the early stages of rescue planning and response during a mining accident. The robot can enter potentially dangerous situations ahead of rescuers to evaluate hazardous environments and help them determine how operations should proceed, even delivering supplies to trapped miners. The Gemini Scout was developed at Sandia through a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) sponsored program.

Need

In a mining accident first responders are working against the clock and against a myriad of dangers to assess the situation and rescue trapped miners. The mine has unknown and potentially deadly conditions creating a challenge for first responders and often limits their ability to assess the situation in a timely matter. There is a need for a robotic system that could be used to support a mine rescue team, functioning primarily as a “scout”, allowing for the exploration and assessment of the mine conditions.

Challenge

The mine could have debris, unstable structures, flooding, explosive vapors, poisonous gases, and a variety of other environmental conditions making it dangerous to send in rescue teams and creating challenging environments for ground robotic systems. The Gemini-Scout was developed for maximum mobility to enable the vehicle to overcome a variety of obstacles and terrains, such as rubble, water, mud, and even railroad tracks. It is fully equipped with cameras and sensors enabling it to provide feedback on environmental and structural conditions and can serve as a two-way communications device with trapped miners, providing critical life-saving information to first responders. The system was designed with explosion-proof housings to make it safe to operate in environments with gases and explosive vapors.

Applications

The Gemini-Scout platform is scalable from smaller to larger sizes and configurable to add on additional payloads and sensors to support a wide variety of missions such as:

  • Border tunnels
  • Search and rescue missions
  • Payload deployment and delivery
  • Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance
  • First responder support