New foam-shooting robots to keep firefighters out of harm's way
Milrem Robotics and InnoVfoam have teamed up to create a new family of foam-shooting firefighting robots to help or replace human firefighters in dangerous situations. Based on Milrem's Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) Multiscope Rescue robot, the system incorporates some of InnoVfoam's firefighting systems, including fire monitors and foam proportioners.
Firefighting is always a hazardous job, but some fires are so dangerous that many times the only safe course of action is to simply contain it so it doesn't spread and wait for it to burn itself out. This is especially true of very large warehouse fires and ones in chemical industrial plants, but such fires can also be incredibly destructive and spread clouds of toxic smoke for miles, so finding a safe way to monitor and combat them without placing firefighters unnecessarily in harm's way is a high priority.
According to Milrem, the Rescue robots can be remotely controlled by firefighters and carry a variety of video cameras, including thermal and infrared, as well as gas and chemical sensors. These fire monitors are separate from the cameras used to navigate and operate the robot itself, so it can be moved about without interrupting the overview of the blaze.
In addition to monitoring, the Multiscope Rescue's 1,200-kg (2,600-lb) maximum payload capacity and pull force of 21,000 N (4,721 lbf) allow it to carry other equipment, like foam or water tanks, heavy firehoses, or tethered drones for an aerial view of the situation. The robot is robust enough to be airdropped into wildfire areas, and the InnoVfoams fire monitors can dispense water and foam at a rate of up to 20,000 liters (4,400 gal) 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," says Kuldar Väärsi, CEO of Milrem Robotics. "The systems we are developing with InnoVfoam can alleviate dangers firefighters face and help contain fires faster."
The animation below shows the Rescue robots in action.
Source: Milrem Robotics