Firefighting has been around ever since humans started playing with fire but unfortunately until recently, these brave men and women used the same old firefighting vehicles, water, and fire suppressants to do their thing.
Luckily, the technology has advanced and prices went down - and today we have a few new approaches for fighting fires in difficult situations without risking the lives of people.
Approach #1: Robots
The company called Shark Robotics has developed Colossus, a multi-purpose support robot made for operations in high-risk areas. It has already proven its worth, having helped extinguish the ferocious Notre Dame blaze that occurred on April 15, 2019. At that time, it enabled almost 3,000 liters of water to be sprayed per minute onto the inside walls of the cathedral, without endangering a single human life.
Considered to be "the most powerful electric robot in the world," Colossus is amazingly resistant to thermal radiation (up to 900°C), and can run up to 12 hours in an operational situation with a carrying capacity of up to 500 Kg. Also, its use cases extend beyond firefighting, with firefighters in Marseille, France using Colossus during the COVID-19 pandemic to disinfect surfaces without taking risks.
Approach #2: Drones
The EHang 216F is a special drone designed to fight fires in high-rise buildings. It has a maximum flight altitude of 600 meters (0.37 miles) and can carry up to 150 liters (around 40 gallons) of firefighting foams and 6 fire extinguisher bombs in a single trip.
The EHang 216F uses a visible light zoom camera to quickly identify the location of fire; it then hovers precisely in position and uses a laser aiming device to fire (in succession) a window breaker, the fire extinguishing "bombs" and then a full-range spray of firefighting foam. Multiple 216Fs can be deployed to rapidly extinguish the fire.
Approach #3: Rockets
Another approach for fighting a fire in skyscrapers involves using rockets. Developed by the China Aerospace Science and Industry, the Fire Extinguishing Rocket System uses rockets equipped with fire extinguishing agents to suppress the fire.
The system is smart enough to locate the fire site precisely by using infrared and visible light detection technology and employs high-accuracy trajectory calculation technology to measure and set fire-fighting parameters. It can also fire a round of 24 rockets in 72 seconds and can be quickly reloaded.
The price of each unit, with a launcher and rockets, costs about 8.5 million yuan ($1.24 million).
More interesting technologies...
New firefighting technologies presented here are just the tip of the iceberg — there are many new approaches you can discover at the Sustainable Avenue website, which is made for savvy local officials on one side, and businesses looking to sell innovative products and services to municipalities around the world, on the other side. In that sense, it offers different "action points" for these two different audiences.
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