A group of the US engineering students has created a firefighting robot that may help sailors fight fires at sea.
The SAFFiR (Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot) humanoid robot has been developed by Terrestrial Robotics Engineering and Controls Lab and Extreme Environments, Robotics & Materials Laboratory at Virginia Institute of Technology.
“It is not going to replace navy firefighters; it is going to assist navy firefighters,” Viktor Orekhov, a former Virginia Tech doctoral student who helped design and build the robot, was quoted as saying.
SAFFiR is about the size of an adult man, measuring five feet 10 inches tall and weighing about 64 kg and it stands on two “legs”.
The demo, four years in the making, is part of a new effort by the U.S. Navy to better assist sailors in fighting fires, controlling damage, and carrying out inspections aboard ships via user-controlled unmanned craft or humanoid robots. The firefighting robot is named SAFFiR, short for Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot, and the U.S. Office of Naval Research envisions a future — long off, but tangible — in which every ship has a robot as a tool for firefighters.
In the future, every navy ship that leaves port could have one of these firefighting robots on board, the researchers said.
SAFFiR was tested several times. The bot, which was controlled from a distance by a team from Virginia Tech, successfully put out the blaze, LiveScience reported.
“We have demonstrated a real-world application for humanoid robots that no one has done before,” said John Seminatore, a student in mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech who helped create SAFFiR.
The Virginia Tech team hopes to get the bot to act autonomously but for now, it will continue to be tested as a user-operated machine.
A prototype of the bot was unveiled recently at the Naval Future Force Science and Technology Expo in Washington, DC.