Navy scientists reveal details of prototype firefighting Robot

Navy scientists reveal details of prototype firefighting Robot

A prototype robot, designed to take on rescue operations on ships that are in trouble was revealed by the US navy scientists last week at the Naval Future Force Science & Technology EXPO.

The robot dubbed Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFFiR) is a two-legged humanoid, which is 5-feet-10-inches tall and weighs 143 pounds. It has been developed by engineers at Virginia Tech and backed by the Office of Naval Research (ONR).

ONR researcher Thomas McKenna Said, "We set out to build and demonstrate a humanoid capable of mobility aboard a ship, manipulating doors and fire hoses, and equipped with sensors to see and navigate through smoke".

He added that the long-term goal is to keep sailors from the danger of direct exposure to fire. According to him, hybrid teams made of humans and robots will be created so that sailors could work remotely during dangerous events while guiding the robots.

SAFFiR has the ability to walk on uneven surfaces and manipulate doors and fire hoses. Since military vessels carry artillery, there's heightened urgency to extinguish fires.

The robot has been equipped with stereoscopic thermal imaging cameras and a rotating LIDAR (light detection and ranging) laser sensor that enables it to navigate through thick smoke.

However, the robot is still remote controlled and slow. It is also under the risk of getting damaged by fire and water. The researchers hope to add new features, such as a bipedal robot that is configured to take shipboard measurements or scan for leaks and corrosion.

They will also make efforts to include the ability to respond to gestures and voice command, and provide sensory feedback.

The plan so far calls for SAFFiR to take instructions from sailors and 'fire bosses' working remotely in the event of a fire in human-robot teams.

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