Improved firefighting robots could save fire service, public lives

Purdue researchers created a new design to improve firefighting robots and increase maneuverability to fight fires better and save lives. (Image provided)

This research connects with Purdue's 150 Years of Giant Leaps in AI, Algorithms and Automation – Balancing Humanity and TechnologyA Purdue invention is improving the efficiency and maneuverability of a firefighting robot, and the field-tested design could make firefighters’ jobs less dangerous, according to Eric Dietz, professor of computer and information technology and director of the Purdue Homeland Security Institute.

Researchers developed a new automatic T-valve system for firefighting robots that can remove water from the fire hose whenever the robots move to a new location. Because significantly less energy is needed to pull an empty fire hose compared to one filled with water, robots can maneuver more quickly in and around a burning structure. By reducing weight and power consumption, firefighting robots become more mobile and efficient. Their batteries also have capacity for longer missions. Robots with the T-valve system might be used in conditions not stable or safe enough for human firefighters, Dietz said.

“This discharge valve invention could be the next transformation of the fire service that saves lives within the fire service and, most importantly, with the public,” said Dietz.

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