ASTM E2855 - 12

    Standard Test Method for Evaluating Emergency Response Robot Capabilities: Radio Communication: Non-Line-of-Sight Range

    Active Standard ASTM E2855 | Developed by Subcommittee: E54.08

    Book of Standards Volume: 15.08


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    Significance and Use

    A main purpose of using robots in emergency response operations is to enhance the safety and effectiveness of emergency responders operating in hazardous or inaccessible environments. The testing results of the candidate robot shall describe, in a statistically significant way, how reliably the robot is able to perform the specified types of tasks and thus provide emergency responders sufficiently high levels of confidence to determine the applicability of the robot.

    This test method addresses robot performance requirements expressed by emergency responders and representatives from other interested organizations. The performance data captured within this test method are indicative of the testing robots capabilities. Having available a roster of successfully tested robots with associated capabilities data to guide procurement and deployment decisions for emergency responders is consistent with the guideline of Governments at all levels have a responsibility to develop detailed, robust, all-hazards response plans as stated in National Response Framework.

    This test method is part of a test suite and is intended to provide a capability baseline for the robotic communications systems based on the identified needs of the emergency response community. Adequate testing performance will not ensure successful operation in all emergency response environments due to possible extreme communications difficulties. Rather, this standard is intended to provide a common comparison that can aid in choosing appropriate systems. This standard is also intended to encourage development of improved and innovative communications systems for use on emergency response robots.

    The standard apparatus is specified to be easily fabricated to facilitate self-evaluation by robot developers and provide practice tasks for emergency responders to exercise robot actuators, sensors, and operator interfaces. The standard apparatus can also be used to support operator training to establish operator proficiency.

    Although the test method was developed first for emergency response robots, it may be applicable to other operational domains, such as law enforcement and armed services.

    1. Scope

    1.1 Purpose:

    1.1.1 The purpose of this test method, as a part of a suite of radio communication test methods, is to quantitatively evaluate a teleoperated robots (see Terminology E2521) capability to perform maneuvering and inspection tasks in a non-line-of-sight environment.

    1.1.2 Robots shall possess a certain set of radio communication capabilities, including performing maneuvering and inspection tasks in a non-line-of-sight environment, to suit critical operations for emergency responses. The capability for a robot to perform these types of tasks in obstructed areas down range is critical for emergency response operations. This test method specifies a standard set of apparatuses, procedures, and metrics to evaluate the robot/operator capabilities for performing these tasks.

    1.1.3 Emergency response robots shall be able to operate remotely using the equipped radios in line-of-sight environments, in non-line-of-sight environments, and for signal penetration through such impediments as buildings, rubbles, and tunnels. Additional capabilities include operating in the presence of electromagnetic interference and providing link security and data logging. Standard test methods are required to evaluate whether candidate robots meet these requirements.

    1.1.4 ASTM E54.08.01 Task Group on Robotics specifies a radio communication test suite, which consists of a set of test methods for evaluating these communication capabilities. This non-line-of-sight range test method is a part of the radio communication test suite. The apparatuses associated with the test methods challenge specific robot capabilities in repeatable ways to facilitate comparison of different robot models as well as particular configurations of similar robot models.

    1.1.5 This test method establishes procedures, apparatuses, and metrics for specifying and testing the capability of radio (wireless) links used between the operator station and the testing robot in a non-line-of-sight environment. These links include the command and control channel(s) and video, audio, and other sensor data telemetry.

    1.1.6 This test method is intended to apply to ground based robotic systems and small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) capable of hovering to perform maneuvering and inspection tasks down range for emergency response applications.

    1.1.7 This test method specifies an apparatus that is, first of all, an essentially clear radio frequency channel for testing. In addition, a standard line-of-sight barrier between the testing operator control unit (OCU) and the robot is specified. Fig. 1 provides an illustration.

    Note 1—Frequency coordination and interoperability are not addressed in this standard. These issues should be resolved by the affected agencies (Fire, Police, and Urban Search and Rescue) and written into Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that guide the responses to emergency situations.

    1.1.8 The radio communication test suite quantifies elemental radio communication capabilities necessary for robots intended for emergency response applications. As such, based on their particular capability requirements, users of this test suite can select only the applicable test methods and can individually weight particular test methods or particular metrics within a test method. The testing results should collectively represent an emergency response robots overall radio communication capability. These test results can be used to guide procurement specifications and acceptance testing for robots intended for emergency response applications.

    Note 2—As robotic systems are more widely applied, emergency responders might identify additional or advanced robotic radio communication capability requirements to help them respond to emergency situations. They might also desire to use robots with higher levels of autonomy, beyond teleoperate onto help reduce their workloadsee NIST Special Publication 1011-II-1.0. Further, emergency responders in expanded emergency response domains might also desire to apply robotic technologies to their situations, a source for new sets of requirements. As a result, additional standards within the suite would be developed. This standard is, nevertheless, standalone and complete.

    1.2 Performing LocationThis test method shall be performed in a testing laboratory or the field where the specified apparatus and environmental conditions are implemented.

    1.3 UnitsThe values stated in SI units shall be the standard. The values given in parentheses are not precise mathematical conversions to inch-pound units. They are close approximate equivalents for the purpose of specifying material dimensions or quantities that are readily available to avoid excessive fabrication costs of test apparatuses while maintaining repeatability and reproducibility of the test method results. These values given in parentheses facilitate testing but are not considered standard.

    1.4 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    Left: The non-line-of-sight range test method uses an airstrip or flat, paved road with robot test stations placed in front of and behind a wall constructed of stacked 12 m (40 ft) International Standards Organization (ISO) shipping containers. Right: Robot test stations are prototyped behind the wall with targets on the barrels for visual inspection tasks and circular paths for maneuvering tasks.

    FIG. 1 Test Fabrication at An Air Strip


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    E2521 Terminology for Urban Search and Rescue Robotic Operations

    E2592 Practice for Evaluating Cache Packaged Weight and Volume of Robots for Urban Search and Rescue

    Additional Documents

    NISTSpecialPublicati Autonomy Levels for Unmanned Systems (ALFUS) Framework Volume II: Framework Models, Version 1.0


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 25.040.30 (Industrial robots. Manipulators)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    Referencing This Standard

    DOI: 10.1520/E2855-12

    ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.

    Citation Format

    ASTM E2855-12, Standard Test Method for Evaluating Emergency Response Robot Capabilities: Radio Communication: Non-Line-of-Sight Range, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2012, www.astm.org

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