Robotic sailor made to fight fires

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

robot firefighter
SAFFiR is designed to work as a team member with humans.

The Navy’s newest sailor may have two arms, two legs, and be about the average height for a man, but he’s far from your average soldier. This military machine is called the Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFFiR) and he is the Navy’s shiny new firefighting robot.

The human-like droid is made to work with real people and comes equipped with special sensors and mechanisms for walking autonomously (on his own). This includes maneuvering through narrow hallways, climbing ladderways, and balancing on rocky surfaces that would be very difficult for older robots. As he patrols around the massive vessel, SAFFiR will also learn the complex layout of the military boat. All of these features will help with his main goal of hunting down fires and fighting them on board.

In order to make his firefighting job as simple as possible, SAFFiR is geared out with special cameras that can see in ultraviolet and infrared light, which are invisible to the human eye. These special lenses allow SAFFiR to detect heat and see through smoke. When it comes down to battling the flames, the robot’s body can withstand temperatures of more than 900 degrees Fahrenheit! Its strong battery can also handle 30 minutes of using hoses, controlling extinguishers, and throwing grenades made to put out flames.

SAFFiR won’t completely replace regular Navy firefighters, but it’s definitely a welcome addition to the team!

Images courtesy of US Naval Research Laboratory.