TECDRON, a Design & Engineering office based in France, has announced the launch of a new robot named ‘Sentinel’, designed to assist firefighters and emergency responders with dangerous, difficult and physically demanding tasks during operations. The remotely operated platform is equipped with electric motors and caterpillar tracks, allowing indoor and outdoor operation with a running time of 4 to 6 hours. It is ideally suited to fires with restricted visibility and very high temperatures such as underground fires (tunnels, underground car parks), or any fire with a risk of explosion such as warehouses, industrial sites or refineries.
Various accessories can be attached to the robot, making it extremely versatile and able to perform several successive tasks during the same mission. Examples of equipment TECDRON is able to support on its platforms include: day/night cameras, thermal cameras, motorised water cannon, LED projectors, smoke-extraction fans, stretcher holder, air bottles holder, various sensors (e.g. temperature, gas), electric winch and so on.
TECDRON has been collaborating with fire brigades since 2014 and has already designed and produced several prototypes of robots to assist with firefighting operations. One of them is owned by the Amsterdam Fire Brigade and is used regularly with a water cannon, a smoke-extraction fan and a LIDAR to assess buildings’ potential risk of collapse after a fire.
However, the applications are endless. More recently, TECDRON won the latest tender by the Parisian Fire Brigade and delivered three robots during the summer of 2018. The robots will be used in case of accidents during the underground works of the Grand Paris Express. The aim is to secure and facilitate the firefighters’ progress into the dozens of kilometres of underground galleries. The robots will be equipped with:
- Stretcher holders allowing casualty evacuation
- Air bottles offering air supply to the firefighters
- Static water hoses allowing the projection of a wall of water to cool down the ambient air and settle the dust
The robots can each carry up to 800kg of payload, which considerably eases the firefighters’ progression into hostile environments.
Sentinel is the first robot from TECDRON’s range to take a fully integrated industrial approach to its conception, through the use of more suitable materials and production processes. It is also the first robot to use a new system interface specifically designed and programmed by the company for its applications. Thanks to this interface, clients benefit from more advanced and unique features such as real-time monitoring of the robot’s components (motor and battery temperatures, instant power, etc.), higher security checks and remote pre-diagnosis in case of incident. As the company owns the robot’s software, no third party is involved, which makes the diagnosis, maintenance and repair processes quicker. Paired with the use of ‘brushless’ motors, which do not require any maintenance, these new features increase the reliability and the service life of the robot.
TECDRON has also integrated a data logger into Sentinel, which allows the operator to access the logs and operations history of the robot. This is also helpful in case the robot needs to be returned to the company’s workshop for repair or maintenance, as this will accelerate the diagnosis.