SAFFiR the Robot Firefighter


SAFFiR demonstration - NRL Laboratory for Autonomous Systems Res

The US Navy is currently working on a shipboard autonomous robot firefighter called SAFFiR. The technology was developed by engineers at Virginia Tech, University of California, Los Angeles, and University of Pennsylvania. This 5 foot biped robot will be able to detect fires, operate the nozzle on hoses, navigate over or around obstacles, all the while keeping its balance in all kinds of sea conditions.

Currently tests are being performed on a decommissioned Navy ship which is regularly set on fire for this purpose. They aim to build something which will be suited with a wide array of sensors for gas, infrared and UV cameras. These will enable SAFFiR to see through the thickest smoke and recognize areas with excess heat. They will also be suited with knowledge of the ship and its layout, and will even be able to communicate with the crew on board, for a better coordination in case of an emergency.


They will be especially designed to regularly patrol the ship they will be assigned to, in order to detect threats even before they turn into emergencies. They will work together with the crew if something is amiss. In case of a dire situation, these robots, thanks to their thermal shielding equipment, will be able to access places where no ordinary firefighter could.

This technology once viable could also transition outside of the military and could be a formidable asset in fighting wildfires or burning buildings.