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CURSOR - Field Test for Search and Rescue Operations Takes Place in Japan

CURSOR - Field Test for Search and Rescue Operations Takes Place in Japan
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Press release, 26 September 2022

CURSOR - Field Test for Search and Rescue Operations Takes Place in Japan

On 26 September 2022 , the jointly funded project of the EU and the Japan Science and Technology Agency organises a field test for new and innovative rescue robots and digital information systems in Hyogo Prefectural Emergency Management and Training Center. CURSOR (Coordinated Use of miniaturised Robotic equipment and advanced Sensors for search and rescue OpeRations) aims at the optimisation of search and rescue operations in disaster zones.

Tohoku University, a member of the CURSOR consortium, is involved in the hardware development of miniaturised robotic equipment, the so-called SMURF (Soft miniaturised underground robotic finders). Within any disaster zone, the SMURF can explore narrow gaps providing the search and rescue teams with valuable on-site information which reduces the total search time. Thus, surviving victims can be located earlier, accidents in dangerous environments can be prevented and the safety of workers and search and rescue teams can be ensured.

Validating the CURSOR technology in the realistic environment

The development of these kind of complex technologies goes hand in hand with testing. The project testing procedures and methodology had several stages and now, in the final project phase, it is crucial that the testing environment and usage scenarios closely reflect the conditions in which the robot is ultimately to be used. This environment is provided by the Hyogo Prefectural Emergency Management and Training Center.

The main role of the first responders is to verify and validate that functional performance, and quality requirements and specifications of the SMURF are satisfied. This field test concentrates on SMURF mobility and provides opportunities for first responders to increase their SMURF navigation skills in and on open and unpredictable terrains.

Prof. Satoshi Tadokoro of Tohoku University is very excited about the joint field test: “This field test provides us the opportunity to test the SMURFs mobility and its behaviour in an open and unpredictable terrain. We have worked hard to develop a functional search and rescue robot and I am very glad that we are now able to present it to the Japanese research community and test it together with local and European first responders.” Ms. Tiina Ristmäe, Research Projects Division at the Technical Relief Agency, Germany and Coordinator of the CURSOR project emphasises the relevance of the joint SMURF field test: “CURSOR is a collaborative project between Europe and Japan. There have been already several CURSOR field tests in Europe, and I am happy that we can now bring together the expertise from Japan and Europa and use it for further development and improvement of the SMURF. I thank our partner Tohoku University for hosting this field test and I am looking forward the exciting testing activities in Hyogo.”

The field test is organised by the Tohoku University with the participation of the first responders from Kobe Fire Service (JP), German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (DE), Hellenic Rescue Team (GR) and Entente pour la Forêt Méditerranéenne (FR). From the CURSOR consortium there are also SINTEF (NO) and ARTTIC Innovation (DE) supporting the test activities.

CURSOR started its activities on 1. September 2019 and will end on 28. February 2023.

Press Contact:

ARTTIC Innovation GmbH

Verena von Scharfenberg

CURSOR website

CURSOR project video.

CURSOR on Twitter

CURSOR on LinkedIn

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 832790 and from the Japan Science and Technology Agency.

ARTTIC Innovation GmbH has been advising research and innovation projects for more than 33 years. As project management and communication partner, we make sure that our projects run successfully and that project results and events are disseminated in the best possible way. ARTTIC is a subsidiary of the PNO Group, one of the largest consultancies for publicly funded projects in research and development. For more information, please visit

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