In this paper, we describe work in performance standards for urban search and rescue (USAR) robots, begun in 2004 by
the Department of Homeland Security. This program is being coordinated by the National Institute of Standards and
Technology and will result in consensus standards developed through ASTM International, under the Operational
Equipment Subcommittee of their Homeland Security Committee. A comprehensive approach to performance
requirements and standards development is being used in this project. Formal test methods designed by several
working groups in the standards task group are validated by the stakeholders. These tests are complemented by regular
exercises in which responders and robot manufacturers work together to apply robots within realistic training scenarios.
This paper recaps the most recent exercise, held at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Maryland Task
Force 1 training facility, at which over twenty different robots were operated by responders from various FEMA Task
Forces. The exercise included candidate standard test methods being developed for requirements in the areas of
communications, mobility, sensors, and human-system interaction for USAR robots.