Meet The World's First Firefighting Drone

Certain drones, or at least their pilots, have received plenty of criticism for getting in the way of firefighters during emergency situations. But what if their power could instead be harnessed to help the brave men and women who put their lives on the line? Naturally, drones can go to places that people can't, so why not send one in to scout a blaze?...

Scientists at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have developed FAROS, a fireproof aerial robot system, which pretty much does exactly as it sounds. Let's face it; firefighters need all the help they can get, and so FAROS has been designed to help them find people inside burning buildings.  

At first glance this is nothing more than an everyday quadcopter, but a closer look shows four rotors which are actually at the bottom of the drone. Whilst this may sound like a small difference, downward facing rotors allow the drone to - get this - stick to, and climb along walls... 

With the help of a 2D laser scanner, an altimeter and an Inertia Measurement Unit, the FAROS drone can overcome obstacles and navigate a blaze autonomously.

Okay, so now you might be thinking that autonomy and clever gadgets are great, but how is a plastic drone supposed to survive the heat of a raging fire? Well, the FAROS is completely fireproof. It has an outer shell made up of a network of aramid fibers, which shields sensitive electrical and mechanical innards from open flames, while an internal cooling system beneath the “skin” helps to keep the drone cool. Its creators reckon it could withstand temperatures above 1,800°F (1,000°C) for over a minute. 

All this means that the FAROS drone can detect and inspect fires, scout buildings from above and inside, while sending live information to firefighters on the ground. Cool.