If drones aren’t chasing firefighters away from a fire, then they’re probably close enough that the delicate plastic and sensitive sensors are slowly melting. Fire and drones are basically a terrible combination in every way, unless they’re a tool being used by firefighters to map out a burning building.

FAROS (the Fireproof Aerial RObot System) is a drone that’s supposed to be used by firefighters to find victims and fires inside a burning building. It looks at first appearance like a run-of-the-mill quadrotor, but with the rotors on the bottom, and the ability to stick to walls. On the outside, it has an aramid shell that enables it to resist heat.



Once it’s inside a building, the drone uses an inertial guidance system and 2D laser scanner to find its way around, and a thermal imaging camera to seek out fires and humans. All the data is transmitted back to firefighters, who can use the intel to plan a much more strategic attack on the building, rather than blundering around looking for people.

None of the technology is particularly groundbreaking on its own: laser sensors and thermal imaging cameras have been on drones in the past, and autonomous flying is not really new. But add it all together, hopefully put it in the hands of fire departments sometime in the near future, and you probably have a tool that can save some actual lives.

[FAROS via Gizmag]