Navy Creating Firefighting Robots (They Can Dance, Too)
Join the Navy, see the world. Also, you may see robots fighting fires if the Navy and its partners at Virginia Tech are successful in their ongoing research into bipedal humanoid robots.
Researchers at Virginia Tech are working with the Navy to create robots that could be used in place of sailors to fight shipboard fires. The Autonomous Shipboard Humanoid (ASH) will be able to navigate the narrow passages and ladders commonly found on a ship, will be able to see through smoke, and respond to human hand signals.
The ASH robot (which is still in development) is based on the CHARLi-1 and CHARLi-2 robots created by Viriginia Tech’s Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory (RoMeLa). CHARLi-2 can right itself if the robot is bumped or jostled, a key function for any robot hoping to fight fires (or mop decks) on a Navy ship. CHARLi-2 won the RoboCup robotics awards two years in a row (which involves beating other humanoid robots at soccer).
ASH is part of RoMeLa’s Shipboard Autonomous Fire-Fighting Robot (SAFFiR) program, conducted in collaboration with the GRASP Lab at the University of Pennsylvania and the Naval Research Lab. ASH will also feature some technology originally developed for the Navy’s Octavia firefighting robot.
Although this is completely unrelated to fighting fires, you can see a video of CHARLi-2 dancing Gangnam style below: