FireBot: Augmenting Firefighting with AI
Eric Hamber Secondary
Floor Location : M 066 N
Although firefighting has improved significantly with advances in telecommunications, refined training and experience, major risks posed to both firefighters and victims remain, especially as high-rise buildings, synthetic materials and lighter, more flammable building materials continue to become increasingly prominent. Focusing on on-site technologies can significantly reduce latency of response. Currently, established fire safety technologies intended to be installed and to remain on-site, mainly sprinklers and smoke detectors, are unaware of their surroundings and designed to notify victims and first responders solely of the presence of a fire, thus depending almost entirely on the arrival of first responders. Even after first responders arrive, necessary procedures, including finding the fire and assessing routes to approach the fire, before extinguishment occupy precious time, during which the fire continues to grow. In the case of high rise buildings, firefighters must first ascend multiple storeys by stairs while carrying extremely heavy equipment. A novel solution is proposed and prototyped, with emphasis on alerting first responders and victims of the structural fire, providing firefighters with the ability to assess the fire from within the area concerned and attempting to extinguish the fire, all during the incipient stage of the fire. To achieve almost immediate response time, the robot resides in the area concerned, such as a residential, commercial or office structure, and is therefore relatively small. In case of a fire, the robot promptly recognises the fire through visual means, alerts firefighters and victims electronically and attempts to extinguish the fire autonomously. Through optical and near infrared vision and machine learning techniques for image recognition, the robot is able to detect fires with greater precision and earlier than smoke detectors. Further, it is able to collect valuable information such as video in real time, instantly engage in two-way communication with firefighters, and provide the data collected. Next, the robot automatically begins to autonomously extinguish the fire by dispersing fire extinguishing agents such as water, driving and rotating according to the location of the fire as well as calculations of the trajectory to be dispersed. At any time, certified personnel can take over the robot via remote control, with access to live video from the robot’s cameras, its driving functionalities and rotation of the cameras and nozzle.