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Japanese researchers developed a unique robot that might join firefighting teams all over the world, and it looks like a Japanese “flying dragon”. The aerial firefighting hose robot was created to deal with fires deemed too hazardous for human firefighters.

A research team from Tohoku University began the design process in 2016 and collaborated with Japanese firefighting professionals to better understand their specific requirements. Dr Yuichi Ambe, joint corresponding author and an assistant professor at Osaka University, explained: “We here present a prototype of a four-meter-long, remotely controllable flying firehose robot, engineered to safely and efficiently extinguish fires in buildings by directly approaching the fire sources.”

According to Interesting Engineering, the firehose of the “dragon” firefighter is propelled at an elevation of two meters above ground level and relies on the force generated by eight adjustable water jets situated at its central and head regions. The nozzle’s configuration is flexible and adjustable by a control unit on a wheeled cart positioned at the rear. The cart is linked to a fire truck equipped with a 14,000-liter water reservoir. There is a combination of a traditional camera and a thermal imaging camera at the tip of the hose in order to identify and locate the fire.

Researchers have reportedly been continuously improving their design, with enhancements including better waterproofing, a nozzle unit capable of handling a wider range of net forces, an improved mechanism for channeling water flow, and many others.

The design was recently revealed in the journal Frontiers in Robotics and AI, and its creators also published the technology as Open Science, so the blueprints are now accessible for roboticists worldwide, enabling them to freely utilize the plans to construct their own Dragon Firefighters for the collective benefit.

The researchers estimate the deployment of robotic firefighting technology in real-life firefighting scenarios within the next decade.