VIDEO: EdWatch: UD developing disaster response robots

The University of Delaware plays a key role in a national challenge that aims to deploy robots in disasters too dangerous for humans.

WDEL's Amy Cherry has more in this week's WDEL Delaware EducationWatch.

We've already got robot controlled cars like the Google car, but a trio of University of Delaware professors are looking to take that technology one step further

"We are adding capabilities to it so that it can drive a car and drive like we drive," says associate professor of Computer and Information Sciences, Christopher Rasmussen.

Christopher Rasmussen is taking part in the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Challenge along with nine other schools on their team.

The hope is that these robots can be used in place of humans in disaster situations like the partial meltdown at Fukushima in Japan

"We use a robot to go in and not only do reconnaissance but actually fix the problem, maybe go find a valve and turn it off," he says.

By the time they're done, this robot needs to be able to do all kinds of tasks.

"They want a robot to be able to open the door, and go up the stairs, move around rubble, pick up a tool and use a wrench to close something or a drill or even a jackhammer to break through a wall," says Rasmussen.

In December of 2014, the teams will compete for a grand prize of $2 million.

Check out the team's vision for robotic disaster response by 2020:

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