Firefighting Robotic Scout Creates 3D Thermal Map for Rescuers

University of California, San Diego engineers have developed new image processing techniques for rapid exploration and characterization of fires by small, Segway-like robotic vehicles. The robotic vehicles photograph the interior of burning buildings by using stereo and infrared vision, and use data gathered from various sensors to characterize the state of a fire, including temperatures, volatile gases, and structural integrity. An on-board software system maps the thermal data onto a 3D scene constructed from the images. This 3D thermal map can be provided in near real time to rescuers, who could better assess the structure and plan their firefighting and rescue activities.