TrackReitar FFL - the main challenges

Today, fire departments do not commonly use firefighting robots due to the challenges faced in implementing a robotic system that cooperates with firefighters:

  • Firefighting robots currently in use are expensive, limiting the number of fire departments that use them. They are often large and heavy, making them challenging to deploy and use and creating additional danger if the robot accidentally hits someone.
  • For a robot to be functional, it must be deployed quickly before the fire has reached flashover and become too hot to enter, which constrains the deployment speed.
  • Because it is challenging to communicate in a fire situation, firefighters may need to interact with the robot without going through the incident commander; fire fighting robots need a robust direct interface for firefighters, which most do not have.
  • Firefighters are under extreme stress and time constraints in a fire situation, so interacting with robots should not cause additional stress or take significant time.

Most importantly, firefighting robots must avoid interfering with human firefighters and should have a well-defined role separate from firefighters roles. As a result of the challenges mentioned previously, a firefighting robot should be cheap, easy to carry, easy to use. The robot should stay out of the way of firefighters. Firefighting robots should be affordable to be used in as many fire departments as possible, some of which will have limited budgets. Firefighting robots should also be small and light so that they require little effort to bring the robot to an emergency site and so that firefighters can deploy the robot there as quickly as possible.

Additionally, firefighting robots should not require much training; communication between firefighters and robots should be resilient to environmental interference. Interacting with fire fighting robots should take as little time as possible while not creating additional stress for firefighters already working in a stressful situation. Finally, fire fighting robots should stay out of the way of firefighters and not interfere with standard firefighting protocol.

LeoTronics s.r.o. created the TrackReitar FFL firefighting robot that can overcome these challenges and make robotic firefighting applications commonplace.