Many pet owners teach their dogs how to sit, roll or shake hands, but rarely do they ever train their pets to guide firefighters out of a burning building. A group of doctoral students led by Eric Jing Du, a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Florida, have trained and developed robotic dogs with the intent of helping first responders virtually see through walls in situations that they would otherwise be blindsided by. Firefighters who have trouble navigating through fires in an unfamiliar environment would be able to escape these situations with the help of the dogs. Since 2015, Du has aimed to understand how the robotic dogs can impact human interaction and possibly prevent unnecessary deaths of future first responders. "Human beings cannot go into these dangerous rooms with fire and hazardous substances, but they can send this robotic dog there," Du said.