Dragon Firefighter Flying Robot: The Future of Firefighting
In a groundbreaking development, scientists have created a new ally for firefighters: the Dragon Firefighter. This flying firehose is designed to combat the most dangerous fires, providing a safer alternative for human firefighters.
The Dragon Firefighter is the brainchild of a team of Japanese researchers. “We here present a prototype of a four-meter-long, remotely controllable flying firehose robot, engineered to safely and efficiently extinguish fires in buildings by directly approaching the fire sources,” said joint corresponding author Dr. Yuichi Ambe, an assistant professor at Osaka University.
The design, published in Frontiers in Robotics and AI, is based on Open Science principles, allowing researchers worldwide to freely use the plans to build their own Dragon Firefighters.
The Dragon Firefighter operates by propelling a firehose upward, flying at two meters above the ground, using eight controllable jets of water spouting from its center and head. The firehose can change shape and be oriented towards flames, steered by a control unit in a wheeled cart behind. The cart is connected through a supply tube to a fire truck with a water reservoir of 14,000 liters.
The Dragon Firefighter made its debut at the World Robot Summit 2020 (WRS2020), held in September 2021 in Fukushima, where it successfully extinguished the ceremonial flame from a distance of four meters.
Since then, the team has continued to refine the design. “Since the demonstration at WRS2020, we have continued to work on improving our Dragon and have learned many new things,” said Dr. Yu Yamauchi, an assistant professor at Akita Prefectural University and another corresponding author.
Improvements include better waterproofing, a nozzle unit capable of handling a wider range of net forces, and an improved mechanism for channeling water flow. However, the team anticipates that it will take approximately 10 more years to deploy the robot in real-world firefighting scenarios.
“The primary challenge will be to extend its reach to beyond 10 meters. Developing effective firefighting tactics tailored to this robot’s unique capabilities will likewise be a critical aspect of further development,” said Ambe.
This innovative approach to firefighting could revolutionize the field, providing a safer and more efficient way to combat dangerous fires. The Dragon Firefighter is a testament to the potential of robotics and AI in creating solutions for real-world problems.