Robin Murphy

The official site for My Lifetime Commitment
Lifetime's Remarkable Women campaign honors extraordinary women who inspire and empower others to make a difference in their communities and the world.
July 30: Robin Murphy
Robin Murphy; Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University and founder of the Center for Robotic-Assisted Search and Rescue
Hometown: College Station, TX Published works: Best-selling textbook Introduction to AI Robotics (MIT Press, 2000) Has contributed her support to disaster relief including: The World Trade Center disaster (2001),the La Conchita, CA mudslides (2005) and Hurricane Katrina (2005)

Dr. Robin R. Murphy is founder of the field of rescue robotics. Her personal goal — to enable emergency responders to routinely save lives through physically situated artificial intelligence — has led to a research career based on three principles: Basic research should be informed by field experiences and working with users, meaningful solutions require teams of multi-disciplinary researchers addressing solutions within the ecology of the domain and industry-agency-university linkages must be established in order to accelerate the diffusion of innovation.

Through the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue, she introduced ground, air and sea robots to disaster response. She participated in the World Trade Center disaster (2001); La Conchita, CA mudslides (2005); Hurricanes Charley (2004), Dennis (2005), Katrina (2005) and Wilma (2005); the Newmont Midas (2007) and Crandall Canyon (2007) mine disasters and the Berkman Plaza II parking garage collapse (2007) and subsequent forensic structural investigation (2008). As fieldwork made it clear that the lack of understanding the relationship between humans, robots and domains was the major stumbling block in diffusing these innovations to disaster management, her basic research turned to human-robot interaction where she produced a series of seminal papers in collaboration with a former graduate student from psychology Dr. Jenny Burke.

In 2002, she founded the Institute for Safety Security Rescue Technology at USF, a state of Florida Type II center, in order to facilitate multi-disciplinary teams in computer science, health systems, networks, psychology and sensors. To enable the transfer of research to industry and the emergency response community, she established the NSF Industry University Cooperative Research Center on safety, security and rescue technology in partnership with the University of Minnesota in 2003.

She teaches and advises students while active in the robotics professional societies and serving on defense and National Academies studies. She has written the best-selling textbook, Introduction to AI Robotics (MIT Press, 2000). She is currently preparing a second edition. Dr. Burke, Prof. David Woods (Ohio State), and has signed a contract for the first textbook on the subject with MIT Press for Human-Robot Interaction.