April 21, 2020

Robots could soon assist in fighting fires in dangerous environments

By Ellen Daniel

Robotics company Milrem Robotics and InnoVfoam, a foam extinguishing technology specialist, are developing a firefighting robot designed to put out fires in the most hostile environments.

Drone technology is often deployed as part of firefighting operations, with the London Fire Brigade now using drones to provide an aerial view of fires and unmanned aircraft recently used to put out a blaze in a ten-storey building in the Chinese city of Chongqing, as part of a trial.

In the aftermath of the recent Australian bushfires, which affected an estimated 18.6 million hectares of land, drones were used in Victoria to search for an rescue koalas affected by the fires.

During the Notre Dame fire in 2019, a firefighting robot called Collosus, developed by Shark Robotics, assisted firefighters using a high-pressure water cannon to help tackle the blaze as well as clearing debris.

In the future, robotics could play a key role in firefighting, with a number of companies developing firefighting robots to make this possible. Milrem Robotics and InnoVfoam have jointly combined unmanned ground vehicle with firefighting systems to assist or replace firefighters.

Meet the firefighting robot supported by drones

Featuring foam proportioning systems, fire monitors and sensors to detect gas or chemical leaks, the robots are operated remotely by firefighters who will receive an overview of the situation from thermal and infrared onboard the robots. The robots are also fitted with tethered drones.

They have a payload capacity of 1,200kg meaning it can carry foam or water tanks and fire hoses, dispensing water at a rate of up to 20,000 liters per minute.

The robots are intended to operate or deliver equipment to difficult to access areas or buildings that are at risk of collapsing on human firefighters, and can be airdropped to help limit the spread of forest fires.

Kuldar Väärsi, CEO of Milrem Robotics said:

“In addition to fires in urban environments there are large scale forest and landscape fires every year that endanger the environment, the lives of inhabitants and especially firefighters. The systems we are developing with InnoVfoam can alleviate dangers firefighters face and help contain fires faster.”

Watch it in action here:

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