Purdue University researchers are developing firefighters that look more like R2-D2 than anyone in an Indianapolis Fire Department uniform.
Purdue researchers have been working on firefighting robots since 2011. In 2015, they rolled out significant improvements, with a robot that had better optics and was nearly indestructible.
Now, researchers have moved a step further, giving the lawnmower-sized, tank-shaped robot even more features. Purdue officials said the improved robot already has been successfully tested in the field, and they are looking for partners for continued research and to take the technology to market.
The Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization has filed a patent to protect the new technology, which they say will make firefighters’ jobs less dangerous and give robots more ability to maneuver in a burning structure. The new technology is an automatic T-valve system that can remove water from the fire hose when the robot moves to a new location, making it substantially easier to more the hose from place to place.