U.S. Navy plans to test robot firefighters

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U.S. Navy plans to test robot firefighters
Virginia Tech and the University of Pennsylvania are working with NRL on the firefighting robot project. NRL's firefighting robot will be a follow-on version to the existing Virginia Tech CHARLI-L1 robot, pictured here. Photo: Virginia Tech

The U.S. Navy plans to test robot firefighters on ships to see if they would be a viable way to replace humans. The Navy will actually do an experiment by setting a ship on fire and having the robots battle the blaze instead of human firefighters. The results may mean robots could become a part of Navy ships’ firefighting efforts in the future.

Robot firefighters could join the popular drones on ships as the Navy works on developing modern technology, according to Mashable. A test has been scheduled for August to see if the robots can put out a fire on a ship, but plans are already in the works to make it happen. Between now and August, the Navy has to handle some logistics and other factors to make the experiment work.

The robots will be responsible for putting out the fire, but humans will be providing the commands. Verbal commands are especially challenging since it is sometimes difficult for machines to recognize voice patterns and responds accurately. The Navy will be watching the experiment closely to see if the robots are capable of handling ship fires.

The cost of the firefighting robots is tremendous with each one estimated at $1 million. Although the cost may go down eventually, this is a big investment in a project that may not produce perfect results. Firefighting robots will have to perform exceptionally well to prove their worth to researchers. Nevertheless, scientists are confident the robots could become part of the Navy’s ship tech crew in a couple of years.

Robotic firefighters are no longer limited to science fiction films and books thanks to the Navy’s efforts to make them a reality. A ship fire can be dangerous for the crew, but the robots could provide a safer way to put it out without risking as many lives. The robots would provide an alternative method to dealing with dangerous situations, and fires may not be the only thing on the list. They could also be expanded to deal with other issues that may arise on a ship.

The future of advanced tech seems to be robots for the Navy, and it is planning to test some potential technology soon. A human crew will still be needed on a ship, but the robots may be tasked with doing activities deemed too dangerous for people. They will be watched closely during experimentation to determine their potential.







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