A Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot for the U.S. Navy
Scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory, along with researchers from Virginia Tech and University of Pennsylvania, have been developing a humanoid, firefighting robot called the Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFFiR). The robot is being designed to move autonomously throughout the ship, interact with people, and fight fires - handling many of the dangerous firefighting tasks that are normally performed by humans. The robot should be able to maneuver well in the narrow passages and ladderways that are unique to a ship and challenging for older, simpler robots to navigate. It is being designed with enhanced multi-modal sensor technology for advanced navigation and a sensor suite that includes a camera, gas sensor, and stereo IR camera to enable it to see through smoke. Its upper body will be capable of manipulating fire suppressors and throwing propelled extinguishing agent technology (PEAT) grenades. Battery-powered, the robot holds enough energy for 30 minutes of firefighting. It will also be capable of walking in all directions, balancing in sea conditions, and traversing obstacles.