Korean researchers have developed a drone that can assist firefighters reach tall buildings. The new firefighting drone called Fireproof Aerial RObot System (FAROS) can detect fires in skyscrapers, search within the building and transfer real time data from the fire scene to the ground station.
Skyscraper fires are very hard to contain. Since it has a vertical structure, the fire can spread rapidly in high-occupant density spaces. Thus, firefighters find it hard to access these types of buildings. A research team from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has developed a fireproof drone that can both fly and climb walls.
It was an extension project of the researchers' Climbing Aerial RObot System (CAROS) created in 2014.
"As cities become more crowded with skyscrapers and super structures, fire incidents in these high-rise buildings are life-threatening massive disasters," Professor Hyun Myung of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department in KAIST said.
He added that their device can be deployed to the disaster site even at the start of incidents and may help in minimizing the damage. It can also help in making sure rescue missions are maximized.
FAROS uses a quadrotor system that can change its flight mode into either climbing walls like a spider or flying. It is equipped with an altimeter, 2D laser scanner and Inertia Measurement Unit (IMU) to help it navigate on its own.
The researchers made sure that FAROS can use a thermal-imaging camera to detect people or objects inside the building. Being flame-retardant and fireproof, it contains aramid fibers to protect its components from the direct effects of fire.
The team conducted a demonstration of its ability to withstand heat and to work efficiently even in the presence of flames. The test showed that the drone can withstand the heat of over 1,000 degrees Celsius or 1,832 degrees Fahrenheit for more than one minute.
An air buffer and a thermoelectric cooling system were installed to keep FAROS cool and endure extensive heat from a burning building. The researchers likewise added that they are planning to enhance the performance of FAROS's fireproof design.
The study was funded by the KAIST Initiative for Disaster Studies and the KAIST Institute.