USA - 2014
For pioneering work in humanitarian disaster response through search and rescue robotics, to the benefit of both survivors and responders
Dr. Murphy is a key founder of the important emerging field of disaster robotics. Through her Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue she has applied robotics and artificial intelligence to 17 deployments of small ground, aerial, and marine robots to disasters in the US, Germany, Japan and Italy. This is the most deployments by any group in the world and includes the first use of rescue robots at the 9/11 World Trade Center collapse, helping to search for survivors; the first use of small unmanned aerial systems for disaster response during Hurricane Katrina providing reconnaissance of communities cut off from road traffic; and the first use of small unmanned water-surface vehicles during Hurricane Wilma, verifying damage to bridges and docks. Dr. Murphy has striven to bridge the gap between research, industry, and practitioners, hosting 28 exercises with participants from 45 universities from 8 countries, 31 companies, and 35 agencies. She created the Roboticists Without Borders program to match commercial and military robotics technology to the unique needs of different types of disasters. Finally, she has trained over 760 responders on robots, including state, federal, and UN urban search and rescue teams, and including a recent workshop with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on helping the robotics community address the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.