Disaster areas are one of the most challenging
environments faced by mankind. Uncertainty, hazards, and
limited availability of rescuers all impact the ability to save
lives. Prepositioned autonomous rescue robots offer promise in
assisting the ﬁrst responders to a disaster site, but there is a
challenge to using robots in hazardous environments: numerous
studies have shown that human rescuers lack trust in fully
This paper introduces the aspects of disaster areas that make
them so challenging. The use of robots as a risk management
tool for human rescuers is introduced. Then some of the factors
that limit human trust in robots are addressed – including one
of the key factors: reliability. The design of a computer model
used to investigate issues of trust and the impact of reliability in
a ﬁreﬁghting scenario is discussed and the results are analyzed.
Finally, some preliminary conclusions and plans for further work
in this area are presented.