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Science & Technology

US Navy to test out new firefighting robot

By T.K. Randall
April 2, 2014 · Comment icon 5 comments

The robot can withstand higher temperatures than a human. Image Credit: U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
A superhuman autonomous robotic fireman could soon be helping fire crews to put out fires.
The Shipboard Autonomous Fire-fighting Robot ( SAFFiR ) is a sophisticated humanoid platform developed by the universities of Virginia, California, Los Angeles and Pennsylvania.

Capable of balancing, holding hoses, turning valves and working together with its human counterparts, the remarkable robot can not only enter dangerous locations without risking human lives but can withstand far greater temperatures than any human could.
The US Navy is now set to deploy two of the robots to the decommissioned USS Shadwell where they will be given the chance to help put out some actual fires in a controlled test environment.

While the robots are intended mainly for military use at the moment, there's always a chance that technology like this could end up finding its way in to fire departments across America and elsewhere in the not-too-distant future.

Source: BBC News | Comments (5)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by paperdyer 10 years ago
From the article: "It makes you think: Why bother with mechanical robots when you can engineer fake human replicants to fight your battles?" asked Meghan Neal. a journalist at Motherboard - a website dedicated to future technologies. Doesn't the term replicant imply fake? These would be androids. They would need and A-I to function properly. One trhing I noticed is this article didn't say if the new robots are programmed to operate independently or with a human running the controls. If they are running themselves I think we are already at the "fake human replicant" stage.
Comment icon #2 Posted by lightly 10 years ago
A robotic remote controlled fire fighter sounds like a pretty good idea.. to save the lives of human fire fighters But this part of the article .. is sort of frightening. ..not to mention EXPENSIVE. (and insane I think.) Synthetic soldiers Robots are increasingly finding their way into the military. The Pentagon's Darpa (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has a range of battlefield robots and is also working on ways to enhance soldiers' abilities with exoskeletons and uniforms made of smart materials. This week it announced a new unit devoted to researching the intersection between bio... [More]
Comment icon #3 Posted by DieChecker 10 years ago
I always wonder why they build these robots as humanoid. Why not a quadruped? It would be more stable and require less sophistocated gismos to balance. As long as it can get down the hallways and through the hatches I don't see why it needs to be a humanoid.....
Comment icon #4 Posted by highdesert50 10 years ago
I would be interested is just how autonomous these robots are when working in conjunction with human firefighters simply because firefighters work in teams, where consistent joint training assures a high level of success without injury. Even hauling a hose into a burning structure is typically done as a joint venture with one person making decisions as to where and how best to direct the delivery of water/foam and the other serving as a safety spotter and facilitating the movement of the hose. There are many extenuating situations that human firefighters train that I would find extremely diffi... [More]
Comment icon #5 Posted by Scheming B 10 years ago
....Stupid ****ing people. Giving A.I. to soldier bots? we all know how this is going to go. Theres literally no other way this ends.


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