Very few people know what it may be like to fight towering fires. Because of this, it would seem as if very few technological innovations target firefighting. No longer; what you see in the cover photo is the Autonomous Fire Fighting Vehicle from industrial designer and student Daniel Pokorný of Prague, Czech Republic.
Looking on this designer’s Behance page, you’ll quickly grasp the level of versatility in his designs. Producing everything from new-age coffee grinders to autonomous cargo carriers, bicycle pumps, sound systems, and of course, autonomous fire trucks.
Like most firefighting vehicles in use, the main function behind their design is water deployment. Some use foams or other flame retardants, but this truck will be using water. To store the liquid required to stop fires effectively from spreading, nearly the entire truck is a water reservoir.
Now, the vehicle isn’t meant to be the main tool used for fighting fires; instead, it’s meant to be a support vehicle. Like most other support vehicles, this one is just meant to keep things from getting out of control. To do so, multiple technological features are implemented.
Like any autonomous vehicle, this one requires to be directed somehow and in some way. To do that, Lidar is called upon. Not familiar with Lidar? It stands for Light Detection and Ranging and functions by measuring distances through means of pulsed laser light. The information is then interpreted and relayed to another set of components that direct the vehicle safely through town. There are four sensors on the truck, two at the front and two at the rear, offering a full 360-degree view of the surroundings.
The next feature to aid in directing action is a thermal camera mounted on top of the truck. Without this feature, the designer shows that there would be no way for the truck to know where water is needed. Based on the image the thermal camera interprets, the robotic arm found mounted on the center of the roof is meant to act and directs a stream of water wherever it’s needed most.
Speaking of that robotic arm, it’s designed to move in any direction offering unrestricted aiming of the water cannon. This sort of arm design has been seen before and is used by teams the likes of NASA and even some luxury yachts as a tender crane.
The final feature this vehicle includes is a pair of drones. Why the heck would anyone include a couple of drones on a firetruck is not that hard to understand. Think about it for a second; while the crew is out fighting a fire in a certain section of a burning building, these two drones can be deployed for multiple reasons.
One purpose would be that of seeking out any victims trapped in the building. Secondly, the drones could also scout new areas in the vicinity to make sure that a fire doesn’t spread. If it does, the truck can just relocate to offer containment wherever it may be needed.
Honestly, I think that drones are already used for some of these reconnaissance tasks, but when will Australia’s calendar boys (firefighters) receive something like this to aid them in their daily tasks? Who knows? Maybe someone reads this article and gets to work. Or something like this is already in the works and it just hasn’t been revealed to me yet.