Navy debuts robot that can fight fires aboard ships

The Navy has developed a prototype of a man-sized robot to do one of the most dangerous jobs aboard any ship: fighting a fire.

The Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot was developed by researchers at Virginia Tech and made its public debut during a Navy science and technology expo in Washington last week.

The Navy says the humanoid was successfully able to walk across uneven floors, use thermal imaging to identify overheated equipment and use a hose to extinguish a small fire in a series of experiments aboard a decommissioned ship in Alabama. The Navy says developing the robot has taken about four years and about $10 million. Virginia Tech students are now working to upgrade the robot so it could help in disaster response situations too dangerous for humans.

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