In 1999 northwestern Turkey was struck by a 7.4 magnitude earthquake which resulted in the deaths of over 45,000 people and leaving millions homeless. The disaster was compounded by a five-day communication breakdown among the local authorities making it difficult to assess ground conditions and to coordinate relief efforts. Motivated to assist these types of rescue efforts, Oguz Bayrakdar (project leader) and Omer Celik both from Turkey, worked with the Istanbul Municipality and Microsoft to develop RobotTurk – a Disaster Emergency Video System.
RoboTurk employs Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) equipped with cameras that are capable of steaming live video of disaster struck areas to any number of ground command stations. The helicopter carries onboard an eBox compute-unit that runs Microsoft Robotics Studio, allowing the robot to execute specific command issued by ground statation or to auto-fly or safely land. The ground stations utilizes Windows Server 2008 Media Services that capture, process and streams video. The disaster coordination users utilizes Microsoft Virtual Earth as a mapping tool and Silverlight streaming to show the overlaid video on the maps, as illustrated on the picture below:
The high-level architecture of the system is as follows:
The RoboTurk team plans to post further information here.