U.S. Navy unveils robot firefighter

It only seems fitting the U.S. Navy has been working on a robot firefighter. Per Quoting CNN:

(CNN)It wasn’t the screech of cannonballs, the thud of grappling hooks or the crack of muskets that most terrified that sailors of the Spanish Armada in the 16th century, but fire.

The English vice-admiral Sir Francis Drake used fire ships — aging hulks set ablaze and allowed to float freely into the Armada — to devastating effect, forcing the Spanish ships to break formation.

More than 400 years later, however, and fire is still one of the gravest threats to shipboard life.

Old threat, new technology

Shipboard procedures such as fire drills, on-board alarms and locking fire doors may have gone a long way to mitigating the danger of fire at sea, but the US Navy is looking at new technology to help it battle the threat.

Its latest solution is to send fire-resistant metal men into the smoky, red-hot holds of its fire-stricken warships, throwing fire retarding grenades and assessing damage with a camera that can see through smoke.

Called the Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFFiR), the team at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) chose a humanoid-type robot as the best way of negotiating the narrow passageways, ladders and hatches (all designed for human mobility) of a modern ship.

SAFFiR is probably only one step towards robots fighting and doing even dirtier work. It would be no surprise to me that other devices are in the works that would even go into urban situations and take down enemies without them even knowing it. Just don’t go giving them sparks!

SOURCE: CNN.com

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