Dubai: Move over RoboCop, meet Robo-firemen

The firefighting robots can save lives of firefighters themselves

by

Angel Tesorero

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Top Stories

KT Photos: Angel Tesorero
KT Photos: Angel Tesorero

Published: Sat 20 Jan 2024, 7:13 PM

Last updated: Sun 21 Jan 2024, 4:28 PM

They tread like tanks and they look as formidable as armoured personnel carriers. But they are not made for war. They are remote-controlled electric robotic fire fighters that made their way at the recent Intersec 2024 in Dubai.

They are the capable ‘assistants’ of human firefighters. Their mission is to enter burning buildings too risky for human survival. They can operate when smoke is too toxic for human lungs. They can lift heavy objects and even serve as a platform for stretcher to carry wounded individuals.

Firefighting robots have not yet been deployed to extinguish actual fires in the country but there are local distributors of mechanised fire responders, including Dubai-based fire protection systems supplier NAFFCO and a couple of distributors from China. They showcased their products at Intersec 2024.

There is also a Dubai-based company that unveiled last year a mobile firefighter called Wabel (which means heavy rain in Arabic).

Saving firefighters

According to distributors of ‘robo-firemen’, the firefighting robots can save the lives of firefighters themselves. “Instead of risking sending human rescuers to enter dangerous places to extinguish the fire, the robots can be deployed instead."

In May last year, an Emirati firefighter died in the line of duty while putting out a blaze in Dubai. A part of the roof collapsed on the 29-year old martyr.

“The ‘robo-firemen’ can put out the blaze that broke out in a petrochemical plant, large warehouse, buildings and other places with high temperature and strong thermal radiation. They are built to withstand a wall that collapsed or any area with dangerous contamination,” Adam Cui, sales manager of Shandong GuoXing Intelligent Technology, told Khaleej Times.

“The firefighting robots are equipped with cameras and are remote-controlled by trained personnel. They have treads like a tank and can navigate dangerous places. The frontal nozzle can shoot or spray either water or foam.”

“Firefighting robots are remote-controlled, but researchers are now developing “intelligent” firefighting robots that can make decisions autonomously,” he added.

Here are two notable firefighting robots seen by Khaleej Times:

NAFFCO NFR-500

  • Can spray water or foam from 1,000 to 3000 litres per minute
  • Chassis made of aeronautical aluminium
  • Obstacle clearance: Up to 30 cm; slope up to 40°; side slope up to 35°
  • Pulling capacity: 1t
  • Payload: 500 kg
  • Dimensions: 76cm in height; 78cm width; 1.60m length
  • Electric engines 2x 4,000W; powered by lithium-ion 6 shark energy ultra-resistant batteries that are easy to install
  • 12 hours in operations
  • Speed: 5 km/h
  • Thermal camera with video turret zoom x30
  • Has GPS, temperature sensors and integrated inertial unit
  • Batteries inside anti-explosion box
  • Price: less than Dh1 million

Guoxing mini-fire extinguishing robot

  • Dimension: 1,700 X 1,000 X 1,300mm
  • Self-weight <900kg
  • Maximum obstacle clearance 200mm
  • Has explosion-proof battery
  • Remote control function can reach up to 40 metres
  • Working time more than 2 hours
  • Has obstacle avoidance function
  • Sprinkler can self-cool

ALSO READ:


More news from UAE