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The future of firefighting is…robots?

TransPro Systems were delighted to see that in 2016 fire-related fatalities in UAE fell by 52%from the previous year. This shift towards a safer nation is partly due to the ever-improving fire prevention and protection systems and devices on offer. But what does the future hold for technology in this arena?

Some people are convinced that robots are the answer…

What does a firefighting robot look like?

In open and enclosed spaces, in structures and vehicles, high above the ground or deep beneath it – fires occur in a wide range of scenarios. Although human fire departments can adapt to tackle fires in almost every situation, it is unlikely that there will be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ mechanical counterpart capable of doing so – at least any time soon. First, we will see the integration and testing of a whole host of different machine designs.

From aerial drones providing real-time data from above, to all-terrain tanks capable of delivering 2,500 gallons of water per minute in those hard-to-reach spaces, robots will vary enormously depending on what tasks, and where, the machine will perform.

Why do we need them?

Fire crews around the world put themselves at great risk every day in order to protect the lives of others. They’re exposed to extreme temperatures, unstable structures, hazardous materials, and more. The introduction of firefighting robots would mean a reduction in the risk to human life (as well as human error) during fire emergencies. Machines can withstand temperatures that no person ever could, perceive their surroundings in complete darkness, and operate in toxic smoke without the need of respiration equipment. Arming our fire departments with such tools would allow us to fight fires on a whole new level.

Will machines ever replace human firefighters?

The greatest benefit robotics can provide is augmenting our emergency services, not replacing them. At present, most firefighting robots being developed still rely on a human operator. By combining a robot’s mechanical strength, reliability, and durability with a human’s judgement, improvisation and flexibility, we will observe the greatest movement towards a safer and smarter world. Although a possibility in the distant future, it is unlikely that we will see fully autonomous machines deployed on a wider scale any time soon.

How realistic is the dream?

One of the main hurdles to using robotics in firefighting will undoubtedly be getting the public to accept the change – but in reality, we’ve been using them for years! Our automated fire prevention and detection systems (such as alarms, smoke detection devices and sprinkler systems) are simply machines programmed to perform complex tasks. When you look at it like that, this future of firefighting is closer than you think!

For more information about the technology currently available please get in touch with our experts. They’re waiting for your call.