Sir Francis Drake is an English vice-admiral who used fire ships; aging the hulks in order to set ablaze and to allow float freely into the Armada and ships to break formation forced the Spanish. Fire is still one of the gravest threats to shipboard life even after above 400 years later.
Old threat, new technology:
Fire drills, on board alarms and locking fire doors are the shipboard procedures may have gone a long way to mitigating the danger of fire at sea. Even though to help it battle the threat, US navy is looking for new technology.
Sending of fire-resistant metal men into the smoky and red-hot holds of its fire-stricken warships, throwing fire retarding grenades and assessing damage with a camera that can see through smoke is its latest solution.
The team at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) chose a humanoid-type robot called as the Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFFiR) as the best way of negotiating the narrow passageways, ladders and hatches of a modern ship.
U.S. Navy unveils robotic firefighter:
Dr Thomas McKenna an ONR program manager for human-robot interaction and cognitive neuroscience told CNN that “Every compartment and passageway on a ship is designed for human occupation and mobility”.
“There are numerous barriers, like sills, that would block a wheeled robot. In addition, a humanoid robot can use firefighting gear designed for humans, such as protective coats, backpack fire suppressants, hand-held sensors and hose nozzles,” he said
“The long-term goal is to keep sailors from the danger of direct exposure to fire.”
“Shipboard fires must be suppressed, whereas in many civilian fires, a building can be considered a loss and the focus might shift to containing the fire to prevent spread,” he told CNN.
“On a ship, fire suppression is critical to the survival of the ship and its personnel; confined spaces, smoke, heat and gases can be a threat to humans.”
The SAFFiR prototype was tested aboard the decommissioned warship USS Shadwell last year and it is developed by researchers at Virginia Tech and sponsored by the ONR and unveiled at the Naval Future Force Science & Technology EXPO this month. The weight of the SAFFiR is 143 pounds and it stands for 5 feet 10 inches.