Monday, May 20, 2024

Firefighting robots to assist or even replace firefighters in dangerous environments

Drone technology is often deployed as apart of firefighting operations, and they have already shown their effectiveness. They have also been tested by the firefighters to fight against forest fires. Assigned to the fight against fires, drones provide, at low cost and in real-time, an aerial view of fires.

Now, it seems like in the future, robotics could also play a key role in the fight against fire. In fact, a number of companies are already developing firefighting robots to make this possible. Milrem Robotics and InnoVfoam, the specialist in foam extinguishing technology, are jointly developing robot firefighting systems to assist or even replace firefighters in the most hostile environments.

These firefighting solutions combine unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) Multiscope Rescue and InnoVfoam’s various firefighting systems, specifically foam proportioning systems and fire monitors. The robots are also equipped with various cameras, thermal and infrared, and sensors, providing a complete view of the area of operation to the firefighters who operate the robot from a safe distance. The sensors also help the robot to detect leaks of gas or chemicals.

These fire monitors can be operated independently from the UGV thanks to separate cameras on the UGV and the monitors allowing the vehicle to change position while maintaining a perfect overview of the fire.

The Multiscope Rescue’s 1200 kg maximum payload capacity and pull force of 21 000 N allow it to be equipped with a variety of firefighting specific payloads, including foam or water tanks, but also tethered drones for better situational awareness. InnoVfoams fire monitors can dispense water and foam from 2000 up to 20 000 liters per minute.

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,said Kuldar Väärsi, CEO of Milrem Robotics.

The firefighting robots are intended to reach areas and enter structures that are inaccessible with bigger vehicles or may collapse on top of firefighters and can be airdropped to help limit the spread of forest or landscape fires.