A group of Japanese scientists has created the “Dragon Firefighter”, a “flying robot” that has a huge hose built into it, designed to assist firefighters in extinguishing high-risk fires. This project has been developed under the concept of Open Science, allowing the plans to be available to other researchers around the world, enabling the construction of their own versions for the benefit of the community.
Since 2016, researchers in Professor Satoshi Tadokoro’s laboratory at Tohoku University have been working on similar flying robots, collaborating closely with Japanese firefighting professionals to better understand their needs and challenges in this task.
” Here we present a prototype of a four-meter-long, remotely controllable flying firehose robot designed to safely and efficiently extinguish building fires by directly approaching fire sources ,” said corresponding author Dr. Yuichi Ambe, assistant professor in Osaka. University.
Dragon Firefighter: the flying robot
The Dragon Firefighter uses a fire hose that is raised 2 meters above the ground by 8 controllable water jets that emerge from its center and head. This hose is capable of changing shape and directing itself towards the flames, being directed by a control unit located on a cart with wheels.
The car is connected to a fire truck that has a significant water tank, with a capacity of 14,000 liters. The hose nozzles shoot water at a rate of 6.6 liters per second, with a pressure of up to one megapascal. In addition, the tip of the hose incorporates a conventional thermal imaging camera that helps in locating the fire.
Since its first presentation, researchers have continued to work on improving Dragon, identifying areas for optimization. It has been discovered that the original passive damping mechanism, designed to counteract the oscillations of the Fire Dragon’s body, was not practical due to the extensive preparation time required for flight. It was also noted that exposure to heat from fire can cause detrimental deformations in the corrugated tubing that holds water hose and electrical cables in exterior applications.
The study details several additional improvements, such as increased waterproofing, a more efficient nozzle unit to handle a wider range of net forces, and an improved mechanism for directing water flow. However, more developments are anticipated.
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