Work Item
ASTM WK41553

New Test Method for Evaluating Ground Response Robot Mobility: Traverse Vertical Insertion/Retrieval Stack with Drops

1. Scope

The purpose of this test method, as a part of the suite of mobility test methods, is to quantitatively evaluate a ground robots capability of traversing in complex terrains in confined spaces. The apparatus associated with this test method challenges specific robot capabilities in repeatable ways to facilitate direct comparison of different robot models as well as particular configurations of similar robot models. The apparatus specifies a test apparatus consisting of three layers of confined area terrains with openings between the two adjacent layers. This apparatus notionally represents confined space voids. The layers are formed by continuous ramps, crossing ramps, and stepfields, respectively. This apparatus can fit into a standard ISO shipping container to facilitate testing in temperature extremes and other environmental conditions such as darkness, smoke, rain, etc. The primary metric is whether the robot is able to successfully traverse the specified routes through the apparatus for a specified, statistically significant number of repetitions. A secondary metric, the time the robot takes to complete the traverse task, provides a relative indication of performance. The suite of mobility test methods quantifies a corresponding set of elemental capabilities necessary for ground robot emergency response applications. As such, the suite should be used collectively to capture the overall mobility performance. Besides the subject test method, the current, first set of standard test methods include for ground mobility in terrains such as Continuous Pitch/Roll Ramps (E2826), Crossing Pitch/Roll Ramps (E2827), Symmetric Stepfields (E2828), and this standard; for ground mobility in terms of negotiating such obstacles as Gaps (E2801), Hurdles (E2802), Inclined Planes (E2803), and Stairs/Landings (E2804); and for ground mobility in terms of such maneuvering tasks as Sustained Speed (E2829) and Towing Grasped/Hitched Sleds (E2830). Additional test methods will be developed within the suite to fully address robot mobility capabilities requirements. This suite of test methods characterizes the mobility capabilities of robots intended to be operated in human-scale, complex environments with variables including terrains, lighting, temperature, etc. Robots under test shall be operated via specified operator control stations that are out of sight and hearing of the test apparatuses but within the radio or tethered communications range. The robotic configuration, as to be tested, shall be specified for all the subsystems and is to remain the same for all the suites of the test methods, as appropriate. Any variation in robot configuration will result in retesting for all the suites of the test methods to provide a comprehensive perspective of the performance for the particular robotic variant.


autonomy, emergency response, mobility, operator control unit, OCU, teleoperation, responders, robot, test suite, urban search and rescue, US&R, vertical insertion


These test method is being developed for response robots and may be applicable to other application domains. It can be used to ascertain operator proficiencies during training. It can provide practice tasks that exercise robotic control, including actuators, sensors, and operator interfaces. It can also provide performance objectives for the corresponding subsystems on the robots.

The title and scope are in draft form and are under development within this ASTM Committee.


Developed by Subcommittee: E54.09

Committee: E54

Staff Manager: Kevin Shanahan

Work Item Status

Date Initiated: 03-31-2013

Technical Contact: Ann Virts

Item: 000