Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2016.


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Calvin Tszeng


When disaster strikes and causes a structure to collapse, it poses a unique challenge to search and rescue teams as they assess the situation and search for survivors. Currently there are very few tools that can be used by these teams to aid them in gathering important information about the situation that allow members to stay at a safe distance. SAFER, Search and Find Emergency Rover, is an unmanned, remotely operated vehicle that can provide early reconnaissance to search and rescue teams so they may have more information to prepare themselves for the dangers that lay inside the wreckage. Over the past year, this team has restored a bare, non-operational chassis inherited from Roverwerx 2012 into a rugged and operational rover with increased functionality and reliability. SAFER uses a 360-degree camera to deliver real time visual reconnaissance to the operator who can remain safely stationed on the outskirts of the disaster. With strong drive motors providing enough torque to traverse steep obstacles and enough power to travel at up to 3 ft/s, SAFER can cover ground quickly and effectively over its 1-3 hour battery life, maximizing reconnaissance for the team. Additionally, SAFER contains 3 flashing beacons that can be dropped by the operator in the event a victim is found so that when team members do enter the scene they may easily locate victims. In the future, other teams may wish to improve upon this iteration by adding thermal imaging, air quality sensors, and potentially a robotic arm with a camera that can see in spaces too small for the entire rover to enter.