The SHERPA Project was an EU FP7 funded large-scale research project involving 10 partners throughout Europe. During my time at ETH, I was responsible for leading ETH’s efforts within that project.

The goal of SHERPA was to develop a mixed ground and aerial robotic platform to support search and rescue activities in a real-world hostile environment such as the alpine scenario. What made the project very rich from a scientific viewpoint is the heterogeneity of capabilities of the different actors of the SHERPA system: the “human” rescuer serving as a “busy genius”, working in team with the ground vehicle, as the “intelligent donkey”, and with the aerial platforms, i.e. the “trained wasps” and “patrolling hawks”. The emphasis was placed on robust autonomy of the platform, acquisition of cognitive capabilities, collaboration strategies, and natural interaction between the “genius” and the SHERPA platforms.

The project and the individual research topics considered therein received diverse media coverage including an euronews report exclusively focusing on SHERPA.