Technology is advancing each day, giving us more and more opportunities to tackle the never-ending tasks our world throws at us. The new mobile firefighting robots for critical infrastructure show themselves as one of the many revolutionary developments in disaster management. There are thousands of suitable applications for this type of machine. It is predicted that this technology will be utilized in nearly every country by the end of 2022.
This innovation will help address some of society’s most pressing challenges, such as reducing operating costs, eliminating manpower shortages, and streamlining response time risks. Critical infrastructure facilities such as oil storage tanks, gas pipelines, and storage of hazardous and explosive substances are prone to high risks of fire and explosions. This will be dealt with in a better manner through the introduction of mobile firefighting robots.
How do firefighting robots for critical infrastructure work?
1) Robots are deployed to the facility to locate the fire
The robots are equipped with the necessary sensors and cameras. These robots are related to a control system which is usually called the master controller. The control system will be able to inform emergency responder personnel of the location and status of their robot.
2) Robots evaluate the cause and extent of the fire
A live video feed is sent to the master controller, utilizing the real-time picture of the fire and traffic jam of available personnel to decide how to respond. Once the master controller is aware of the decision, he uses his remote control system to provide various instructions and commands to his robot which will, in turn, commence the activities needed to extinguish the fire.
3) Robots extinguish the fire
The robot can be equipped with a high-pressure water hose for smaller fires. The robot can then jet spray water directly on the flames. For fires that are too powerful for this method, robots can be equipped with potentially hazardous chemicals such as foam or powder to completely extinguish the fire.
4) Robots inform and warn the responder personnel
At the end of the fire fighting process, robots will inform the master controller. The master controller will then advise back to his remote control system when it is safe for the responders to approach.
Why are firefighting robots so crucial?
1) They have a faster response rate
When a fire or explosion occurs in an oil storage tank; the risk of spillage increases proportionately with time. Mobile firefighting robots can be deployed within a matter of minutes rather than hours taken by human responders to arrive on the scene. They can put out a fire before it has a chance to escalate.
2) They save lives
Firefighting robots are equipped with self-contained breathing apparatus and automatic self-extinguishing systems; this makes them much safer than human responders when fighting fires in dangerous environments or highly volatile areas. They do not feel the pain and agony that come with inhaling smoke or being exposed to flames, further reducing the risks of human casualties and injuries.
3) They can access locations that are difficult for humans to reach
Oil storage tanks are huge, meaning that it will take too much time for humans to navigate their way through narrow corridors and multiple stairwells just to deploy life-saving equipment. This would be risky and, in the end, make it difficult to contain the situation. The ability of robots to navigate through tight spaces can save valuable time; this will allow responders to stop the fire before it has a chance to grow out of control.
4) They are fully automated apparatus
They are designed to be independent of human operators and can perform their tasks autonomously. This will save response time. On top of that, they are more accurate and efficient than humans, having the ability to eliminate fire in a shorter period.
5) They are affordable
The firefighting robots are cost-effective and easy to maintain. They can be operated remotely, allowing them to fill the gap between areas that responder personnel cannot access. They also provide efficiency as they can perform tasks at a faster rate than human responders allowing them to be utilized in multiple areas at once. This way, they can cover many places at once, saving time and money.
6) They have a high degree of knowledge about the area
The robots have top-level knowledge about their locations and how to respond accordingly. This is essential in a situation where there is a high risk of explosion and fire, as these require swift and accurate support.
7) They can be deployed/retained indefinitely
They can operate as a 24/7 mechanism for fire protection and suppression. This means that firefighting robots for critical infrastructure are something that will be around for the foreseeable future. It is because they are cost-effective, easy to maintain, and cost-effective. There is no need to replace or replace them again in a short time after each incident.
The development of robots is ongoing. Research is being done on improving their performance, capacity, and intelligence. Some of the future developments that are underway include:
1) Robots equipped with health sensors
They will be able to monitor various health and ecological factors in their environments. They will know if there is any chance of an explosion or fire taking place, which can then be relayed back to the responders for better preparation.
2) Robots with accurate tracking capabilities
They can provide live video feed to emergency responder personnel, allowing them to monitor the entire response process. It will also enable them to conduct accurate firefighting activities for a more effective extinguishing method.
3) Robots with decision-making capabilities
They are designed to be autonomous to make decisions that are related to the safety of responders. They can direct responders if there is any danger level that might pose harm to human health. They can also make decisions about firing on an actual fire, such as by applying foam or water or by moving the firefighting equipment needed closer to the fire area.
Firefighting robots will become increasingly relevant in the future. As they become more sophisticated, they will be able to resolve unique issues that no other system can. They have the potential to save lives and, by doing so, prevent human casualties, high losses, and property damage. They are already being made available for some locations worldwide, including in the United States, UK, Canada, and Australia.